Lionsgate Forges Innovative Agreement To Sell Thunderbird Films' Procedural Drama "Endgame" to Hulu
First Season Already Sold; Show Makes U.S. Debut on January 9
SANTA MONICA, Calif. and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 9, 2012 -- Continuing its commitment to create and distribute content for digital and traditional media platforms alike, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading diversified global entertainment company, announced today that it has sold season one of Thunderbird Films' crime drama Endgame to Hulu. The show will premiere in the U.S. on Hulu and the Hulu Plus subscription service on January 9.
Endgame is a Canadian drama television series that premiered in March 2011, earning five Gemini nominations (including Best Dramatic Series), the Canadian equivalent of the Emmys, in its first season. Produced by Thunderbird Films in association with Front Street Pictures, Endgame stars Shawn Doyle (Big Love, 24 and Desperate Housewives) and was created by Avrum Jacobson. Lionsgate acquired the series for North American distribution, and Endgame is distributed internationally by Endemol.
"Hulu is the perfect home for this groundbreaking series, and we believe that our partners at Thunderbird Films have produced an evergreen drama that will resonate with audiences for years to come," said Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television and Digital Distribution Jim Packer. "The emergence of new digital partners like Hulu has dramatically extended the longevity and significantly increased the syndication opportunities for premium content like Endgame. Lionsgate is committed to remaining an innovator in creating and distributing content that will be successful on digital and traditional platforms alike."
Packer noted that Lionsgate recently licensed the culinary series Hell's Kitchen to Hulu for streaming to its subscribers. The Company has also been active in creating original new content for digital platforms.
"We're very proud of Endgame, and we're delighted to partner with two visionary companies like Lionsgate and Hulu," said Michael Shepard, Executive Producer and President of Thunderbird Films. "Having a U.S. partner on a procedural drama is an important boost in realizing the long-term value of any franchise, and we believe that Hulu's commitment to the show will expand its audience and increase its value worldwide for many years to come."
"Endgame is the kind of original, high-quality content for which the Hulu platform was designed, and it has already attracted a passionate and loyal fan base of viewers in Canada," said Andy Forssell, Hulu's Senior Vice President of Content. "Our agreement to serve as the U.S. home for Endgame reflects our continuing commitment to bring the world's most exciting, critically acclaimed premium content from a broadening spectrum of talented creative voices to our users."
Endgame centers on the brilliant chess master Arkady Balagan. Traumatized by the murder of his fiancee, Balagan has become a prisoner in his luxury Vancouver hotel. To pay his bills, he works as a detective, solving mysteries with the help of an unlikely band of hotel employees and chess fanatics. Arrogant, brilliant and charismatic, Balagan uses the skills that made him World Chess Champion to solve crimes that mystify others. He imagines events, interviews the living and even the dead, and runs conflicting scenarios - all in his head.
Endgame, which has quickly amassed a passionate fan base, made its world premiere on Canada's Showcase last year.
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution and new channel platforms. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its prime time production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as "Mad Men", "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" along with the comedy "Blue Mountain State," the critically-acclaimed drama "Boss" and the syndication successes "Tyler Perry's House Of Payne", its spinoff "Meet The Browns", "The Wendy Williams Show" and "Are We There Yet?".
Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as THE LINCOLN LAWYER, TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, MARGIN CALL, THE EXPENDABLES, THE LAST EXORCISM, TYLER PERRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?, KICK ASS and the critically-acclaimed PRECIOUS, which won two Academy Awards�. The Company's home entertainment business has grown to more than 7% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 13,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
Hulu is an online TV service whose mission is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how they want. As we pursue this mission, we aspire to create a service that users, advertisers and content owners unabashedly love. Hulu was founded in 2007 and is operated independently by a dedicated team with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Tokyo and Beijing. NBCUniversal, News Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, Providence Equity Partners, and the Hulu team share in the ownership of the company (www.hulu.com).
About Thunderbird Films
Vancouver, BC based entertainment production and distribution company Thunderbird Films collaborates with talented producers, maximizing the financial and creative benefits of Canadian co-production to assist in the financing, production and distribution of all genres of programming for the world market. The company is committed to delivering premium finished product that has broad appeal for broadcasters and their audiences worldwide. Today, Thunderbird Films has a catalog comprised of over 400 hours of Canadian and US television content and its programming airs on major networks around the globe.