The youngest of the film studios that GLAAD tracked this year, Lionsgate was originally formed in Vancouver in 1997 but has produced some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters in recent years. Since its inception, the company has grown greatly through acquisitions of other companies, including Summit Entertainment in 2012, which produced the highly profitable Twilight film franchise.
The very first film Lionsgate ever released was The Pillow Book (1997), in which Ewan McGregor costarred as a bisexual man, and the company has had quite a few other notable LGBT-inclusive films since then. These include Gods and Monsters (1998), But I'm a Cheerleader (2000), Urbania (2000), Lost and Delirious (2001), All Over the Guy (2001), Happy Endings (2005), Precious (2009), Albert Nobbs (2012), and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) through Summit Entertainment.
In 2014, Lionsgate Entertainment released 17 films, of which 2 included appearances by LGBT people, amounting to 12%.Both of these films passed the Vito Russo Test.
THE EXPENDABLES 3
Widest theatrical release: 3221 theaters
The Expendables 3, which once again reunited some of the biggest action stars of the 1980s and 90s for more pyrotechnic mayhem, garnered quite a bit of press for a scene at the film's end insinuating that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li's returning characters might be a couple. Following the successful completion of their mission, the entire crew is seen celebrating at a bar, including the aforementioned Trench and Yin Yang, who are leaning in close to one another laughing. Team leader Barney walks by and remarks "Do you guys need a room," to which Trench (Schwarzenegger) replies, laughing, "We don't need a room…So jealous!" while Yin rests his head against Trench's chest. The scene could be interpreted simply as a bit of (slightly homophobic) joking between the characters, though it's also notably one of Jet Li's only appearances in the film. When asked by a press outlet whether the characters were actually a couple, director Patrick Hughes replied, "I believe they are." This small insinuation at the film's end is hardly comparable to a fully dimensional LGBT character who is "out" from the beginning, but it's a significant inclusion for a hyper-masculine action film opening on over 3000 screens. Much like How to Train Your Dragon 2, we hope this small first step will lead to more substantial depictions in the future.
MAS NEGRO QUE LA NOCHE
Widest theatrical release: 178 theaters
The Spanish-language horror film Mas Negro Que La Noche was released on 178 screens by Pantelion Films, a joint venture of Lionsgate Entertainment and Grupo Televisa, and was purported to be the first 3D Mexican horror film. The film is a standard haunted house movie, in which a young woman named Greta inherits a crumbling estate from her deceased aunt and moves in with a few friends in tow. One of those is her best friend Pilar, who is the sister of Greta's boyfriend, and who also appears to be secretly in love with Greta based on several longing looks she gives when Greta's turned away. A party scene later in the film shows Pilar flirting with another woman, and one character remarks that she has a very "lesbian" tattoo. Unfortunately, Pilar meets the same gruesome fate as the majority of the film's young cast, though her death is probably treated as the most "tragic" given that it's at the hands of the woman she loves and happens off-screen rather than in gory close-ups. The dead-lesbian character is an all-too-common trope in popular media, but at least in a horror film it's contextually appropriate.
Roadside Attractions was founded in 2003 by Howard Coehn and Eric d'Arbeloff and specializes largely in independent films. Lionsgate bought a portion of the company in 2007. Notable LGBT-inclusive films released by the studio previously include I Love You Phillip Morris (2010) and Albert Nobbs (2012).
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE
Widest theatrical release: 393 theaters
The debut feature from out writer/director Justin Simien made headlines for its biting examination of "post-racial" America on a college campus, which is revealed to be a fallacy over the course of the story. Dear White People actually follows several "main" characters, one of which is an awkward aspiring journalist named Lionel, who is both gay and black, and who finds those distinctions alienate him from his peers. The racial issues addressed in the film are rare enough to see in a film receiving mainstream media attention, but it's far rarer for sexual orientation to also be a part of that conversation. Dear White People's willingness to examine the intersection of these issues will be hopefully found in more films in the future.
THE SKELETON TWINS
Widest theatrical release: 461 theaters
Estranged twins Milo and Maggie reconnect after their mutual failed suicide attempts in this comedy from out writer/director Craig Johnson. Over the course of the film, it's revealed that the source of their estrangement is an affair Milo had with his high school teacher, who he is sadly still hung up on. Milo is one of the most significant gay characters in any film of the year, not to mention one of the most hilarious and humanely portrayed, thanks to actor Bill Hader. The Skeleton Twins was one of the year's LGBT film highlights.