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LIONSGATE SIGNS CHRISTIAN MARKET DEALS: Names Thomas Nelson, Inc. Exclusive Distributor in Christian Market.

April 19, 2007 by  
Filed under Arts/Literature

( Lionsgate, the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, has forged two major partnerships in the faith-based entertainment genre, it was announced by Lionsgate President Steve Beeks.

The Company has reached a distribution agreement with publisher Thomas Nelson, Inc., making Thomas Nelson the exclusive distributor of Lionsgate product in the Christian retail market. The largest Christian publisher and the sixth largest overall publisher in the world, Thomas Nelson is expanding its DVD distribution business through the deal.

Lionsgate also has acquired the exclusive North American home entertainment distribution rights to three DVD documentaries based on the best-selling books by leading Christian non-fiction author Lee Strobel – THE CASE FOR CHRIST, THE CASE FOR A CREATOR, and THE CASE FOR FAITH.

Having sold more than eight million copies combined, the award-winning books have received extensive critical acclaim. Produced by Illustra Media, in association with Carmel Entertainment, the first documentary, THE CASE FOR CHRIST, will ship to retail in the third calendar quarter of 2007.

With these partnerships, Lionsgate looks to expand its overall industry leadership in the faith-based category and increase its presence in Christian retail.

THE CASE FOR CHRIST, which has sold over four million copies, will be the anchor of the company’s foray into this marketplace. Additionally, Lionsgate will utilize its relationship with Thomas Nelson to gain leverage for its existing library of product as well as upcoming inspirational theatrical titles such as CHURCH BOY, based on the true story of inspirational gospel music icon Kirk Franklin, and a feature adaptation of Thomas Kinkade’s painting THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE.

Lionsgate established a stronghold in the African-American faith-based market through its hugely successful partnership with Tyler Perry and the feature films DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, MADEA’S FAMILY REUNION, and DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS.

“Lionsgate is making a concerted effort to expand its leadership in the faith-based category.

Making Lee Strobel’s THE CASE FOR CHRIST the first new title under the Thomas Nelson relationship is a very powerful statement to show our commitment,” said Beeks.

“Thomas Nelson has the best sales team in the industry, and they provide our faith-based product with unprecedented access to millions of proven Christian product buyers across the United States.”

“This is a strategic moment for Thomas Nelson and Lionsgate,” remarks Gary Davidson, senior vice president of Christian retail sales at Thomas Nelson. “We are very excited to partner with Lionsgate where we can offer quality family friendly and faith-based films to our Christian retail customers. Thomas Nelson and Christian retail share the belief that the DVD medium has huge potential for revenue and market share growth in the foreseeable future.”

“I’m thrilled to partner with Lionsgate and Thomas Nelson to expand my books into a visual market,” Strobel said. “Illustra and Carmel Entertainment produce extremely high-quality films, and both Thomas Nelson and Lionsgate have the expertise necessary to achieve widespread distribution of the DVDs.”

By Stacey Williams

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