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May 11, 2013

This post has been republished here – with an incredibly improved infographic! You really want to see it. It’s amazing.


Original post:

Welcome to my ugliest post yet! Most of the feedback I get concerns the aesthetics of my charts and all I can say is that I’m working on improving that. But for now, I still have to produce at least one of these a week.

Anyway, this time I took a look at Lionsgate. Often called a “mini-major studio” or “the sixth of the Big Five”. How did this happen? How could a company that was founded in 1997 by a banker from Vancouver take on the film industry under its own terms and without the backing of a major media conglomerate like the other big ones? Many voices say they got lucky by hitting gold with The Hunger Games right after acquiring Summit and the rights to the Twilight Saga. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, in what turns out to be a very deliberate, aggressive and strategic expansion effort over the past 15 years.

The company got to where it is primarily by making bold, brave, risky and sometimes stupid moves. Don’t get me wrong – they made some films that were utter nonsense, but they also took a risk on American Psycho after Disney got spooked by its uneasy premise. Or Lolita, which had a hard time finding a home in the late 90’s. Or Kevin Smith’s Dogma, which required some guts to believe in before it became a cult hit.

And then there are the strategic investments in streaming video as early as 2000(!) and its focus on the growing Latino film market.

At the core of all this are the strategic acquisitions that Lionsgate has been putting together like crazy over the past decade, focusing on expansion of its title library and distribution network – domestic and international, as well as its independent production capabilities, strategic partnerships and expansion into TV. Independent film production companies should study this if they want to break away from the pack.

Here is my attempt at creating the world’s ugliest infographic to show this unique company’s systematic growth (if any graphic designer wants to prettify this – hit me up in the contact form).

Lionsgate Domestic Box Office Chronology

Lionsgate Foreign Box Office Chronology

Lionsgate Worldwide Box Office Chronology

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  1. Data Validation permalink

    Do data points account for inflation? What fx was used for foreign films? What is the r-square / fit of these curves?

    • Hello there and thanks for the question!
      1. The data points do in fact account for inflation and are expressed in real 2013 dollar figures. Perhaps I should have stated that (I usually do on other posts), but the point is still clear, regardless: Lionsgate box office grosses are growing considerably over the past 15 years.
      2. The foreign box-office figures were collected from sources such as, and others. They are reported by the studios or aggregated by companies such as Rentrak. I don’t know what currency conversion ratios they use, but I trust they do it correctly. Again, once I get the nominal figures, I translate it into real figures.
      3. The curves are really just there for convenience – in this case they are polynomial of the 5th order and are just there to show the general PAST trend. Since I am not trying to predict the future in any way, I didn’t state the r-squared. It is obvious to the naked eye that it will be low due to the spread of the different projects, but the point here is to show that on average, Lionsgate is involved in larger and larger projects, which they could not do if they hadn’t made smart strategic investments in the past. They might crash and burn next year, but I’m interested in how they got to where they are now, not in predicting where they will be next year.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 22. SHOW ME THE STARTUPS! | The Hollywood Quantifier
  2. Lionsgate rising | Info We Trust

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