Lionsgate has signed a first-look film and television deal with acclaimed director Jonathan Levine, whose highly-anticipated SXSW audience award-winning comedy Long Shot, starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron, will make its debut for the studio this weekend. The announcement was made today by Nathan Kahane, President of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, and Kevin Beggs, Chairman of the Lionsgate Television Group. Levine will base his new production company Megamix at Lionsgate and will work alongside Megamix partner Gillian Bohrer.
Levine has a long history with Lionsgate as well as its current Motion Picture Group executive team run by Kahane and Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chairman Joe Drake. Kahane and Drake nurtured and championed the filmmaker’s 2011 comedy-drama 50/50, the critically-acclaimed and award-winning, Golden Globe-nominated Best Picture, starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Over the last eight years, Levine has collaborated again with Kahane and Drake on two more films starring Rogen: The Night Before and the upcoming comedy Long Shot. All three films were produced by Point Grey, which also recently announced a long-term deal with the studio. Lionsgate also released Levine’s Warm Bodies, the feature film adaptation of the novel by Isaac Marion, which opened to both critical and commercial acclaim in 2013, and grossed over $115 million worldwide.
Lionsgate will work with the team at Megamix to develop a diverse range of film and television projects as part of their longterm deal with the studio. Lionsgate Television is already developing a series with Megamix based on Levine’s hit feature Warm Bodies.
Bohrer and Levine originally met in 2009 while working together on the filmmaker’s Warm Bodies, which Bohrer developed while working for Summit Entertainment and which was subsequently released by Lionsgate’s Summit label. As an executive first at Summit, then at Lionsgate, Bohrer was known for working on the Twilight series, La La Land, and bringing in such literary blockbusters as Wonder and Divergent, each of which was translated into successful and culturally relevant franchises or films. Bohrer has always been ahead of the curve securing hot new books like Children of Blood and Bone for Fox 2000 and she will make acquiring exciting new literary properties a major priority while at Megamix. Joining Levine and Bohrer at Megamix will be creative executive McAuley Cahill, who comes to the company from Fox 2000.
“For over a decade, Lionsgate has been in business with Jonathan supporting his earliest work as a gifted writer and director and storyteller and releasing his films,” said Kahane. “He is enormously talented and his movies are unique and refreshing and never derivative. Lionsgate has always been somewhat of an unofficial home for him and Megamix also represents a homecoming for Gillian Bohrer, a highly accomplished and respected production and creative executive. So for us, this deal is an irresistible one-two punch.”
“Lionsgate is the perfect home for Megamix, a studio to both my most successful and favorite moviemaking experiences,” said Levine. “Joe and Nathan have been great collaborators and friends who have supported me over the years and are as committed as Gillian and I are to nurture unique, creative and commercial visions and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Added Bohrer, “Jonathan and I have a shared passion for movies that defy conventional wisdom about what defines a ‘commercial movie.’ I loved the diverse slate of projects I was able to shepherd at Lionsgate, and we’re delighted to bring Megamix to a company that believes in taking risks.”
“We are huge fans of Jonathan’s work and look forward to expanding our relationship in television together,” said Beggs.
Levine made his feature directorial debut with All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. Levine’s second feature and his first as both writer and director was 2008’s The Wackness, which won the Audience Awards at the Sundance Film Festival and LA Film Festival. Starring Ben Kingsley and Josh Peck, the film also earned Levine an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay.