Blog Recap for 27 July, 2023 – eOne and Lionsgate?

eOne, soon to be Lionsgate.

There were some other headlines about Lionsgate this past week or two. Reports are coming that they’re at the forefront of acquiring film distributor eOne. For those who don’t know, eOne is a Canadian film distribution company, which is funny because so was Lionsgate. What’s even funnier is that they’re presently owned by Hasbro. Several years back, Hasbro was actively interested in acquiring Lionsgate.

eOne, soon to be Lionsgate.
When is this going to be replaced by Lionsgate?

What’s not so funny is that any time one of these deals happens, there tend to be layoffs. And, given the current state of Hollywood, this won’t be the exception. I know this as I’ve been laid off by Lionsgate four times in my career. I enjoyed much of my time in Hollywood, but I don’t miss that anymore.

If you want to learn more about them, you can look at this Wikipedia post.


Other news that harkens back to prior comments about my getting old was another colleague’s death. Earlier in the month, a producer/exhibitor named Ray Price passed.

You may not know him by name, but my path crossed with him during my early days at Trimark Pictures. There were some great films they put out, and he orchestrated much of that during the last years of the 20th century. Particularly worthwhile were Eve’s Bayou and Cube.

Both were inspired, and both were surprising for that company. The former was stacked with talent and a complicated story. The latter was an oft-admired sci-fi story that could have been produced at larger studios with huge budgets and A-talent, but this still turned out fantastic.

I can’t say Ray and I were close. My function at the time was more of an annoyance for most, but he seemed decent. There was a fun quote from the Variety article about Repo Man.

“He pulled ‘Repo Man’ from the slush pile, designed a poster with his own money, and put it in his theater. The rest is history,” Price’s former assistant Marti Mattox said in a statement.

Just more of the past leaving us.

Update from 8/22/23 was another article remembering him. You can find it here.

I observed a new poster released for the next Saw film: Saw X. I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about this franchise for various reasons. Some are positive. For instance, a dear (the auto-correct when I typed this put ‘dead’ instead of ‘dear’—he’s very much alive) friend of mine was a producer on the first eight films. It was lucrative for him and his family. It allowed him to do many cool things, like running Fearnet until the plug was pulled.

Image from Lionsgate
Is something heading toward the eyes? Or are they vacuum tubes?

Also, it helped keep Lionsgate going with excellent box office. My relationship with that company is complicated, but anything that paid people’s health insurance and rent is alright by me.

Negatives are content. I’ve technically only released one of them, and it was awful. The genre of horror I like, and I don’t mind gore, but I truly dislike torture porn. I know there are fans just because it is sensational and wild. This is the most obvious franchise within that modern genre. I do not find it entertaining in the slightest.

Another thing I dislike goes back to my friend. You’ll note that he hasn’t been attached to this one or the last. Studio politics is a real thing. I know much of what went into that decision, and I think it is garbage. But, so are the movies so… complicated.



It’s funny, but I have been thinking about a podcast about my time in DVD production. I’ve done many cool things in my career, but most of the best years for stories were during my DVD days, roughly from June 1997 through January 2005. My attorney is a little nervous about the idea because not all the stories are flattering for everyone involved. Plus, that’s a lot of time, as well. We’ll see.

At any rate, where I was going was about the press for the early days. There was some print stuff that was tied to things like Variety and Hollywood Reporter. But it happened to coincide with the increased use of the internet. Websites were starting that focused on specific topics, and amateur journalism was exploding.

One of them was part of a news story this past week. The site is called The Digital Bits. It was one of the ones I followed as it focused on my work (not just mine, but some of mine), and it was thrilling to see when it happened. DVD sales were a useful barometer of interest, but they tended to be cold and abstract.

There wasn’t a person attached, as it were. We approached the creation of these things as a form of art in a way. And there was nothing better than hearing someone specifically mentioning your project. Really, the only other times I heard from people were when they complained. Usually, it was one of three things.

  1. The disc didn’t work on their machine. There were so many DVD players out there, and each was made slightly different. There was a spec we followed when building the discs, but sometimes there was a quirk with a machine about the disc. On occasion, we even knew about it. There was comprehensive testing we did to minimize problems, but they still happened. That was never a fun conversation.
  2. There was a complaint about aspect ratios. When DVD started, just about everyone still had standard definition televisions with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1/4×3. We knew that high definition was coming with a 1.78:1/16×9 aspect ratio and felt it was better to make these things work for the future. Not everyone appreciated the matting at the top and bottom.
  3. People were unhappy with movies released without special features. Usually, it was about one film that was very important to them. Or, there was just a general complaint that the consumer felt they were somehow ripped off because it seemed like less value. Usually, when we didn’t put stuff on, it was because we didn’t have time. The largest studios were putting out double-digit releases a week. These things took a lot of time to make. It became a matter of time management.

Bill Hunt was the guy most attached in my memory, and that was such a cool thing. Someone that all the studios knew by name. Kind of a rock star, in a way. Why this came up was a story they published about the Disney TV show Wandavision having a Steelbook release, but it only the packaging. It’s dumb now, but it would have been a major story back in the day.

Keep fighting the good fight, Digital Bits!

Some More Cool Dispatches