Lionsgate has acquired renowned independent production and distribution company Mandate Pictures, the two companies announced today. The acquisition returns entrepreneurial motion picture executive Joe Drake to the Lionsgate family as Co-Chief Operating Officer and President of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, with oversight of all areas of the Company’s theatrical production, distribution, marketing, acquisition and international theatrical operations. Drake will continue as CEO of Mandate.
In the six years since Drake left his position as head of Lionsgate’s international distribution division, he founded Mandate and, with partners Nathan Kahane and Brian Goldsmith, built it into a worldwide powerhouse responsible for projects such as: Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction, starring Will Ferrell; Zach Helm’s upcoming magical family film Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman; Jason Reitman’s Juno, starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera, which launched at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend; and Harold & Kumar 2, Mandate’s follow-up to its 2004 comedy hit.
Through Ghost House Pictures, Mandate’s joint venture with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, the company has produced four #1 box office releases in a row, including the smash box office hits The Grudge, Boogeyman, The Grudge 2 and The Messengers, and it will release the highly-anticipated film adaptation of the ground-breaking graphic novel 30 Days of Night this fall.
Mandate Pictures has also been a leader in the foreign sales business and has handled international sales and distribution of its own projects, as well as other high profile films from outside production companies, including Because I Said So, starring Academy Award winner Diane Keaton, White Jazz, starring Academy Award winner George Clooney and Sleuth, starring Academy Award winner Michael Caine and Jude Law.
“We’re very excited to be bringing Joe back to Lionsgate,” said Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. “This acquisition reunites an entrepreneurial executive with an entrepreneurial company as well as adding a third party domestic and international profit center to our diverse business operations.”
“No company is as well positioned for growth in the entertainment space as Lionsgate, and I’m excited by the opportunity to help further shape the vision Jon and his team are building,” said Drake. “This new partnership also allows Nathan to continue running Mandate in the entrepreneurial spirit with which we have been successful over the past six years.”
Mandate will continue to operate under its existing brand as an autonomous entity with newly-named president Kahane. It will maintain its business as usual distribution relationships with other major studios and will continue to operate from its current Beverly Hills, California offices with its creative team in place.
Lionsgate expects the $56.3 million acquisition, comprised of $44.3 million in cash and $12 million in stock to be released over an 18-month period, to serve several important strategic benefits: continuing the long- term growth of its filmed entertainment library; strengthening its executive ranks; growing the ability to secure international rights to films released by other major studios; and, building upon Mandate’s success in producing films for other studios, creating an important third-party profit center both domestically and internationally. In addition to the $56.3 million acquisition cost, Lionsgate will assume approximately $6.6 million in debt from Mandate which will be retired immediately.