Los Angeles Business Journal

Lions Gate Invests in Next Games

By Melissah Yang Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lions Gate, the studio behind young adult franchises “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight” and “Divergent,” has invested in Finnish game developer Next Games as part of its effort to move into the gaming industry.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Next Games, founded by former employees of Rovia, Supercell and Disney, raised $6 million in Series A funding in March. The Helsinki startup is currently developing a mobile game based on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

The Lions Gate deal follows a series of investments by media giants interested in adapting their biggest blockbusters for video and mobile games. The second edition of action-adventure “Disney Infinity,” where players can draw from Disney’s and Pixar’s deep cache of characters, is set to be released this fall. Warner Brothers’ video game “Batman: Arkham Knight,” out in 2015, is already generating buzz from critics and fans alike.

Peter Levin, tapped by Lions Gate in April to head its interactive ventures and games division, said gaming was the logical next step for the studio. Levin was most recently co-founder of Nerdist Industries, the digital division of Legendary Entertainment.

“We see them as a prolific source of the next generation of games, creating exciting and engaging properties based on our franchises as well as new content that we develop together," Levin said in a statement.

Shares of Lions Gate were up 15 cents, or five-tenths percent, to $32.03 a share midday Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.