SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, is set to produce DIRTY DANCING, based on the classic 1987 film of the same name, it was announced today by Joe Drake, co-COO of Lionsgate and President of the Motion Picture Group. The original film's choreographer Kenny Ortega (HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT), will direct. Debra Martin Chase (THE PRINCESS DIARIES, THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS) and Kenny Ortega are producing. The studio is in talks with Eleanor Bergstein, the writer and co-producer of the original film, regarding her involvement in the new film in a producing capacity. Alli Shearmur, President of Motion Picture Development and Production, is overseeing the project on behalf of Lionsgate.
The new film is a celebration of one of the most beloved movies of all time. Paying tribute to the emotional excitement of first love, the thrills and complexity of sexual awakening, the soul stirring power of dance, and the classic tale of teenage Baby's forbidden romance with Johnny Castle, the remake will incorporate classic songs from the 1960s, hits from the original film and brand new compositions.
"Amazingly it has been almost 25 years since the original film was released, but the fans remain legion, and engaged more than ever with a brand that is special and vital to them. We believe that the timing couldn't be better to modernize this story on the big screen, and we are proud to have Kenny Ortega at the helm," said Drake.
Said Ortega of the project, "The opportunity to direct DIRTY DANCING is like returning home for me. Growing up in the 60s on the dance floor helped define me as a person and as an artist. I am looking forward to assembling a great creative team and an exciting cast to bring DIRTY DANCING to the screen for a new generation. Patrick Swayze set the bar for men dancing in the movies as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire did before him. I believe everywhere you look there is evidence that the talent is out there and I can't wait to begin the process of discovering the next breakout triple-threats."
He continues, "I want to thank writer/producer Eleanor Bergstein for originally choosing me to choreograph DIRTY DANCING and for her continuous support. I'm thrilled to once again be working with my friend and producing partner Debra Martin Chase. My deep appreciation to Alli Shearmur, Joe Drake, and everyone at Lionsgate for their enthusiasm to make the film and for their confidence in me to helm the project."
"This remake of DIRTY DANCING presents an exciting opportunity to both celebrate what has made this movie so beloved and refresh and enhance it so that new audiences can claim it as their own," said producer Chase. "I am thrilled to be working with Kenny Ortega again and with the dynamic creative team at Lionsgate."
Filmmaker deals were negotiated by Senior Exec VP of Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group Rob McEntegart, with attorney Steve Warren on behalf of Ortega, and Michael Gendler on behalf of Chase. Ortega is represented by Paradigm and McDonald/Selznick Associates.
About The Dirty Dancing Brand
First released in 1987, DIRTY DANCING redefined date movies and continues to captivate the hearts and minds of generations of fans. DIRTY DANCING remains one of the most popular films in Lionsgate's 13,000-title library, having sold more than 10 million units on DVD, and is one of the most enduring modern classics in feature film and home entertainment history.
Starring Jennifer Grey (FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF) as "Baby" Houseman and Patrick Swayze (GHOST) as the sexy Johnny Castle, DIRTY DANCING is the story of a naive girl who meets an experienced dance instructor and becomes his pupil in dance and love. The film won dual Oscars® for Best Music and Best Original Song.
In 2007, Lionsgate orchestrated a multi-platform 20th anniversary celebration that included a 300 theater theatrical re-release of the original film, the release of The Dirty Dancing 20th Anniversary Edition on DVD and Blu-ray, a remastered soundtrack companion CD from Sony/BMG, and a full licensing and merchandising program that included everything from retro t-shirts, to calendars, board games, infant clothing, PC games, and sleepwear. The anniversary celebration was a resounding success, and opportunities to expand the brand continued to present themselves. The Dirty Dancing: Official Dance Workout was launched soon after, and it ranked in the top 15 of all fitness DVDs on Nielsen for 2009, as well as debuting as the #1 fitness DVD when it launched in the UK. The Dirty Dancing: Limited Keepsake Edition, which included a heartfelt Patrick Swayze tribute, was released on DVD and Blu-ray in May 2010. Recently, the DIRTY DANCING video slots game launched at casinos nationwide, allowing players to dance the mambo with Baby and Johnny while singing along to the film's hit soundtrack as they enjoy the entertainment-packed multi-sensory interactive slot.
Fans of the franchise are not only motivated, passionate consumers of all things DIRTY DANCING, they love to connect with each other in public: a stage show that also launched twenty years after the film's release sold out theaters in seven cities in six countries spanning four continents, totaling 3,800 shows, with more than four million theatergoers. The London show sold out with $50 million in advance ticket sales. But more telling than even the numbers was the atmosphere at the shows- the Los Angeles Times reported memorably on the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" like boisterousness and fan bonding that took place across the globe. Each year, there is also a fan organized tribute festival at Lake Lure, where the film was shot.
Lionsgate has continually modernized the brand and employed emerging technology to further connect its legions of devotees. With more than ten million fans (and more than 1.5 million of them added in the past three months alone) DIRTY DANCING is a Facebook sensation, ranked as one of the top 10 most "liked" entertainment franchises ahead of more current phenomena such as THE DARK KNIGHT. Posts on the fan page regularly receive tens of thousands of "likes" and comments and one specific post on the anniversary of actor Patrick Swayze's death broke the Guinness World Record for the most responses in a 24 hour period with over 100K "likes" and over 10,000 comments.
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution and new channel platforms. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its prime time production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as "Mad Men", "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" along with the comedy "Blue Mountain State, " the upcoming drama "Boss" and the syndication successes "Tyler Perry's House Of Payne", its spinoff "Meet The Browns", the upcoming "For Better or Worse," "The Wendy Williams Show" and "Are We There Yet?".
Its feature film business has generated more than half a billion dollars at the North American box office in the past year, fueled by such successes as THE LINCOLN LAWYER, TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, THE EXPENDABLES, which was #1 at the North American box office for two weeks, THE LAST EXORCISM, TYLER PERRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?, KICK ASS and the critically-acclaimed PRECIOUS, which won two Academy Awards®. The Company's home entertainment business has grown to more than 8% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 13,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
For further information, contact:
Lionsgate – Film Division
Kate Hubin Piliero
Lionsgate – Corporate Inquiries
Peter D. Wilkes