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Lionsgate Names Thomas Nelson, Inc. Exclusive Distributor in Christian Market
SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lionsgate , the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, has forged two major partnerships in the faith-based entertainment genre, it was announced today 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.
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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." ABOUT LIONSGATE Lionsgate is the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, winning the 2006 Best Picture Academy Award(R) for CRASH, generating two consecutive years of $300 million-plus domestic theatrical box office, operating a $500 million-plus home entertainment business, and producing a broad slate of prime time television series. It is a premier producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library of more than 10,000 titles is a valuable source of stable, recurring revenue and a foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world. ABOUT THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS Thomas Nelson is a leading provider of Bibles, products, and live events emphasizing Christian, inspirational and family value themes. For more information, visit our website http://www.thomasnelson.com/. ABOUT LEE STROBEL Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel is a New York Times best-selling author of nearly 20 books including the award-winning THE CASE FOR CHRIST, THE CASE FOR FAITH, THE CASE FOR A CREATOR, and INSIDE THE MIND OF UNCHURCHED HARRY AND MARY. The former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, Strobel was described by the Washington Post as "one of the evangelical community's most popular apologists." In 2005, he shared the prestigious Charles "Kip" Jordon Christian Book of the Year award for a curriculum he co- authored about the movie THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. Strobel enjoys an extensive fan base that he reaches out to through a highly-trafficked website (http://www.leestrobel.com/) and numerous grassroots events including countless speaking engagements to sold-out audiences. He has been interviewed on such national television networks as ABC, Fox News, PBS and CNN. His latest book, THE CASE FOR THE REAL JESUS, comes out in August.


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