Summit Entertainment LLC
USINFO | 2013-05-29 16:41

Summit Entertainment LLC (formerly Summit Entertainment LP) is an American film studio and a subsidiary of Lions Gate Entertainment headquartered in Universal City, California with international offices in London.

Summit was originally founded in 1991 by film producers Bernd Eichinger, Arnon Milchan, and Andrew G. Vajna, initially to handle film sales in foreign countries. Summit later expanded into producing and co-financing films in 1995, and started fully financing films by 1997. Summit officially launched in 1993 by Patrick Wachsberger, Bob Hayward and David Garrett under the name Summit Entertainment LP as a production, distribution, and sales organization. Among the company's early successes was American Pie, which Summit distributed outside of English-speaking territories. In 2006, it became a fully independent film studio, Summit Entertainment, with the addition of Rob Friedman, a former executive at Paramount Pictures. The new company added major development, production, acquisitions, marketing and distribution branches with a financing deal led by Merrill Lynch and other investors giving it access to over $1 billion in financing. With that, Summit established the home video distribution due to the production of the Twilight film series. Summit is also distributed theatrically and on DVD in Europe and in Canada by Entertainment One.

After a string of flops including P2, Penelope, and Sex Drive, Summit finally found success in November 2008 with the release of Twilight, a teen romance about vampires based on the best-selling book of the same name by Stephenie Meyer that made $408,773,703 worldwide. In the spring of 2009, Summit released Knowing, the company's second movie to open #1 at the box office and made $182,492,056 worldwide.

In November 2009, Summit released the sequel to Twilight titled The Twilight Saga: New Moon, also based on the popular novel by Stephenie Meyer, breaking box office records in its first weekend, grossing $142,839,137 in three (3) days and posting the fourth all-time best weekend box office figure behind Columbia Pictures' Spider-Man 3 ($151,116,516) and Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight ($158,411,483) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($168,550,000).
On June 30, 2010 Summit released the third film of the Twilight series, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It broke a midnight screening record of over $30 million and set a one-day Wednesday record of $68.5 million but failed to surpass the one-day tally of $72 million set by New Moon. It became the first movie in the series to cross the $300 million mark domestically.

Other films for Summit include Next Day Air ($10,027,047 US box office), The Hurt Locker ($16,400,000 US box office) which garnered Summit its first Best Picture Oscar, the animated film Astro Boy, the teenage horror Sorority Row ($11,965,282 US box office), the low-budget Push ($31,811,527 US box office), the dismally-attended Bandslam ($5,210,988 US box office), Letters to Juliet ($53,032,453 US box office), and the sleeper hit RED ($87,940,198 US box office), which was nominated for a 2010 Golden Globe in the Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical category.
In 2008, Summit ranked in eighth place among the studios, with a gross of $226.5 million, almost entirely because of the release of Twilight. In 2009, Summit ranked 7th among studios with a gross of $482.5 million.

Acquisition by Lions Gate Entertainment
In September 2008, merger talks between Summit and Lions Gate Entertainment were the subject of media speculation, but no deal was finalized at that time. On February 1, 2009, it was announced that Lionsgate would acquire Summit, along with its library of six films and rights to the Twilight franchise, but two days later, these merger negotiations broke down due to concerns over changing content.

On January 13, 2012, Lions Gate Entertainment acquired Summit for $412.5 million.

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