A lot is riding on the release of The Hunger Games for Lionsgate. It’s a bit of a gamble for the company, as they are spending quite a bit on making the movie. They’ve decided to hire a high-profile and experienced marketing executive, Terry Press, as a consultant for the release of the film.
Press worked for Dreamworks for a decade till 2007 and now runs her own company. Last year she worked on The Social Network, the so-called “Facebook movie”. It went on to land on 78 critics’ top 10 list for 2010 and on 22 of those as numer one.
Though The Social Network had no fancy special effects, action sequences or comic book tie-ins like the typical blockbuster movies nowadays, it went on to gross $96,962,694 in the United States and $127,957,621 elsewhere, for a worldwide total of $224,920,315.
Her hire marks the first time that Lionsgate has recruited a consultant to work under marketing president Tim Palen. It has more at stake with “The Hunger Games” than on any film before: It’s Lionsgate’s most expensive production and the first of four planned pictures that Wall Street analysts are expecting to bring in hundreds of millions in profits.
Lionsgate’s motion picture group, run by President Joe Drake, is in a difficult spot because of the disappointing performances of “Conan the Barbarian,” “Warrior” and “Abduction” over the last two months.
Lionsgate has also recruited a new executive to run its distribution department, which plans release dates and books films in theaters. Chris Leroy, a former executive vice president of distribution at Walt Disney Studios, is now interim president of distribution for Lionsgate, reporting to Drake. He was the No. 2 distribution executive at Disney until early this year, when he left along with a wave of others who have departed under new Chairman Rich Ross.
The department had been run for the last two years by David Spitz, executive vice president of distribution, who now reports to Leroy.
The changes indicate that Lionsgate management believes its recent woes lie not in the quality of the movies its production executives are making but with its distribution department, and also that its marketing group needs high-powered assistance on “Hunger Games.”