In a move no one really asked for, Lionsgate Entertainment, the studio behind such franchises as The Hunger Games and the Divergent series, wants to double down on its content for geeks. Deadline reports that the film company has inked a deal with Comic-Con International to create a subscription streaming service catering strictly to the convention's fan base.
"The fan base for the kind of films and television series showcased at Comic-Con has grown exponentially," Lionsgate exec Jim Packer told Deadline, "and a subscription video-on-demand service is the ideal platform to capture the magic excitement of the Comic-Con experience year-round as well as the perfect vehicle for Comic-Con fans to discover new content."
17 of the 20 top-grossing films of last year had a presence at Comic-Con
According to Deadline, the new service, which doesn't yet have a launch date, will feature original content and movies from Lionsgate and partner studios. The decision makes a modicum of sense on paper. As comics and fandoms have become increasingly mainstream in recent years, Comic-Con International's importance to the industry and fans has only exploded, making it Ground Zero for new content every summer. Lionsgate notes that 17 of the 20 best-performing films of last year had a presence at Comic-Con, and since the company effectively owns Young Adult fiction at the movies that doesn't involve capes and magic hammers, making an aggressive play for fans' eyes and money is smart.
Still, it's very unclear how the company plans to attract fans who already pay for other services. Network shows like The Flash and Arrow already appear on Hulu, and Netflix is already launching shows like Daredevil and AKA Jessica Jones. Meanwhile, Sony's efforts with its own original show Powers proves how making programming aimed at a lucrative audience doesn't mean it will be good. Lionsgate has work to do to prove this deal isn't a cynical cash grab.