Lionsgate has laid off a substantial part of its marketing staff as of Monday afternoon. In a new report from Variety, the mini-major studio has relieved upwards of 20 employees of their duties at the Santa Monica-based studio. Feature film marketing and distribution was the primary area hit by the lay-off as a result of corporate restructuring. Per the report, the restructuring had been in the works "for months," and was not as a result of most Hollywood studios shutting productions down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The layoffs come at a time when Lionsgate is coming off one of its best years ever at the box office. Anchored by John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, Lionsgate grossed just south of $800 million at the box office. The Keanu Reeves vehicle ended up grossing $171m stateside as the studio managed to pass Paramount by a healthy margin in the rankings. Another Lionsgate gems came in the form of Rian Johnson's Knives Out, a whodunnit that ended up hauling in around $165m in theater receipts. Sequels have already been greenlit for both John Wick and Knives Out.
The studio has delayed several of the movies it had on tap in the coming months, including the highly-anticipated Saw reboot featuring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. Other delays from the studio include the Janelle Monae-starring Antebellum and Sarah Paulson's Run. As of now, all three films have yet to set new release dates as Hollywood continues to wait the pandemic out and see how the theater industry reacts after.
Sunday evening, the Trump Administration announced it would be extended its social distancing rules through the end of April, meaning productions and theaters will at least be shut down through then. In the case of major theater operators like AMC Theaters, the chains expect to be closed anywhere from six to 12 weeks, meaning opening the end of April is a best-case scenario.
“We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres," AMC's Adam Aron said in a statement earlier this month. "Still, the health and wellbeing of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theatres in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local health authorities.”
Cover photo by Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage