Lionsgate, BuzzFeed Form Partnership to Make ‘High Concept’ Movies for Young Audiences

BuzzFeed is teaming with Lionsgate to make “socially relevant and high-concept feature films” for Gen Z and millennial audiences — whatever that might mean.

The companies announced a pact under which they will jointly develop, produce and distribute films. Those will have “unique, primarily digital, distribution strategies,” according to the announcement: In other words, don’t expect to see many of these movies hitting theaters.

Lionsgate and BuzzFeed plan to launch their first co-production in 2021. The companies said they have “a number of films” in development, but didn’t reveal details.

The parties said they will tap into a “wide range of talent, from award-winning filmmakers to emerging new voices” and that the aim of the deal is to “elevate contemporary, authentic storytellers.” Some of the movie projects will be based on original BuzzFeed intellectual property.

The Lionsgate/BuzzFeed development process will use data from BuzzFeed’s audience-analytics team coupled with the studio’s day-and-date release model, according to the companies.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with BuzzFeed to expand our digital footprint with a slate of original films that speak to their highly engaged audience,” Lauren Bixby, Lionsgate’s VP of acquisitions and co-productions, said in a statement. “With our innovative marketing strategy and agile distribution teams, combined with BuzzFeed’s impressive and extensive global reach, the partnership will allow two entrepreneurial companies to work together to develop some great IP.”

Added Richard Alan Reid, SVP of global content and film at BuzzFeed: “This exciting partnership with Lionsgate marks a new chapter for BuzzFeed and our studio endeavors. We are expanding our strategy to include long-form content, with a slate that celebrates identity, diversity and youth culture, and concepts that highlight themes and characters not typically at the center of pop movies.”

Jason Moring and Michael Philip of production company CR8IV DNA will serve as consultants for the Lionsgate/BuzzFeed movie partnership.

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