Lions Gate Opens Up Family Arm

It looks like Lions Gate Entertainment is moving fast and furiously ahead with plans for its Family Entertainment Enterprises. A story in The Hollywood Reporter today notes that the company is preparing its second theatrical project Sylvester, based on the late author, William Steig’s (Shrek) popular Sylvester and the Magic Pebble book.

The studio’s first theatrical feature is the CG-animated project Foodfight!, which has a November 2006 release date. Produced by Larry Kasanoff’s Threshold Animation Studio (which has a partnership with IBM), the feature takes place during afterhours in a supermarket. Hillary and Haylie Duff are the first two announced stars attached to the feature.

“We think there is an unaddressed area of family feature films, namely, for us to produce pictures at substantial but still reasonable budgets, with a focus on good stories,” Lions Gate president Steve Beeks remarks in the article. “That’s why we renamed the division–it’s not just about the DVD business, it’s a true expansion into all facets of the family entertainment business.”

Lions Gate is also developing two animated series for two different TV networks. In the next few months, the company will release several DVD titles including Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus 3-D, Care Bears Big Wish Movie, Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, Inspector Gadget’s Biggest Caper Ever and Pinocchio 3000. Lions Gate holds a 7% share of the children’s non-theatrical market, and the company projects it will have increase sales from 11 million units sold in 2003 to 51 million units in 2007.