Lionsgate Domestic Distribution Boss David Spitz Inks Long-Term Contract Extension
David Spitz has signed a new long-term deal with Lionsgate as President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution.
Not only has Spitz been behind the theatrical launches of the studio’s signature franchises such as The Hunger Games, Saw, the Tyler Perry canon and John Wick, but has mined a number of hits for Lionsgate by thinking out of the box on release dates and finding holes on the calendar that other studios will overlook. Read, he boldly opened the feature adaptation of the beloved childrens novel Wonder against the anticipated four-quad Justice League last year and captured a pre-holiday family crowd. Wonder bowed second to Justice League, $27.5M to $93.8M, and legged out to a 4.8 multiple at the U.S./Canada box office with $132.4M.
Other distributors wouldn’t know what to do with an original arthouse musical, but Spitz nurtured a carefully executed platform for La La Land, that hit great waves during the course of its release from awards noms and wins to the year-end holiday B.O. and got the Damien Chazelle-Oscar winning musical to $151M, unheard for an original Hollywood musical not based off of a Broadway or West End IP. He counter-programmed Mel Gibson’s theatrical award-winning return Hacksaw Ridge around Veterans Day 2016 and saw a $67M stateside haul. Then there’s August 2017’s R-rated The Hitman’s Bodyguard ($75.5M), a comedy that actually worked at the domestic box office at a time when many are not.
Spitz has also been instrumental in helping to build the Pantelion Hispanic film brand with Overboard, How to Be a Latin Lover, and Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S as well as establishing Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films as a distinguished African American film label.
“David’s distribution leadership is a key element in guiding our business forward,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chairman Joe Drake. “He has great relationships with exhibitors, talent, and our studio partners, and a deep understanding of the right release dates and best distribution strategies for our movies. He will continue to be an integral part of our motion picture leadership team in the years ahead.”
“I’m thrilled to be part of the most innovative and visionary studio in the business and fortunate to be surrounded by an incredibly talented group of distribution executives led by Mike Polydoros and Shaun Barber,” said Spitz. “I look forward to the enormous opportunities that lie ahead for our Company, our industry, and our theatrical movie-going audiences.”
Spitz, the son of legendary distribution guru Jimmy Spitz, cut his teeth as a film buyer for Mann Theaters in 1990. He served two years as a regional branch manager for MGM Distribution before joining LIVE Entertainment in October 1996 as Western Division Manager. LIVE Entertainment became Lionsgate’s predecessor company Artisan, releasing the blockbuster The Blair Witch Project in 1999. Spitz joined Lionsgate as part of the Company’s acquisition of Artisan in 2003. Upcoming for Lionsgate include action thriller Hunter Killer, the adventure epic Robin Hood, the third installment of the John Wick action franchise, the Seth Rogen/Charlize Theron comedy Flarsky and Roland Emmerich’s action drama Midway.
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