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Lionsgate lays off 20 more workers, slimming down amid competitive challenges

Tyler Perry stars as ‘Madea’ in A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL. Credit: Chip Bergman/Lionsgate
Tyler Perry in the Lionsgate movie “A Madea Family Funeral.”
(Chip Bergman / Lionsgate)

Film and TV studio Lionsgate is facing another round of layoffs, as the company slims down to adapt to sweeping changes in the entertainment landscape.

The Santa Monica-based entertainment company behind movies such as “John Wick” and “The Hunger Games” cut about 20 jobs Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment.

The reductions mostly affect positions in corporate departments, as well as a handful of employees in television distribution and the motion picture group, the person said.

Lionsgate’s latest layoffs come less than two months after the company let go of 25 workers as part of a realignment of its film division. It also ended its partnership with Codeblack Films, which makes movies for African American audiences. Lionsgate employs about 1,600 people.

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A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Lionsgate is reducing overhead and trying to become more nimble as the company faces an increasingly challenging and competitive entertainment marketplace dominated by a few giants. Walt Disney Co. is poised to absorb much of 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros. is now part of AT&T Inc., and Netflix is taking a bigger bite of the film and TV market. There have long been rumblings in Hollywood that Lionsgate is looking to set itself up for a sale, but insiders have downplayed such speculation.

Lionsgate grew to mini-major status in Hollywood with young-adult franchises such as “Hunger Games” and “Twilight.” Lately, though, the studio has struggled at the box office. The company ranked 7th last year in terms of domestic market share of ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

Its most recent movie, Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral,” was a hit at domestic theaters, opening with a better than expected $27 million. This year’s Lionsgate releases include “John Wick: Chapter 3,” “Hellboy” and “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”

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Lionsgate has grown its business in recent years through its 2016 acquisition of Starz, the pay-cable channel known for shows including “Power,” “Outlander” and “American Gods.” The company has lately made a big push to expand Starz’s reach internationally with its Starzplay streaming service.

In another major change, longtime Starz Chief Executive Chris Albrecht left the company last month as part of a larger effort to further integrate the network into its business.

Lionsgate’s stock has fallen more than 40% in the last 12 months. It closed Friday at $15.70, down 4.3%.

ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

@rfaughnder


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