In 1997, Lionsgate was founded by Frank Giustra. In its almost 25 years, Lionsgate has produced and distributed major blockbusters including the Twilight, Hunger Games and John Wick franchises, and is the parent company of studios including Summit Entertainment and Pantelion, which focuses on films for a Latinx audience.
The first film Lionsgate released was 1997’s The Pillow Book, in which Ewan McGregor plays a bisexual man. Other LGBTQ-inclusive films from the studio include Gods and Monsters (1998), But I’m a Cheerleader! and Urbania (2000), Lost and Delirious and All Over the Guy (2001), Happy Endings (2005), Precious (2009), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), American Ultra, Freeheld (2015), Un Padre No Tan Padre (2017), and Bombshell (2019).
Las Píldoras de mi Novio (My Boyfriend’s Meds)
Widest theatrical release: 350 theaters
Vito Russo Test: Fail
This romantic comedy follows advertising executive Jess who brings a new man she’s interested in as her guest to a company retreat to an island. Once they reach the island, her love interest realizes his medications were lost in travel and the trip becomes chaotic as he begins to show symptoms of various disorders. The retreat group includes Jess’ friend Megan. It appears that Megan may have a woman attending the retreat with her. Though some sources classified the guest as Megan’s girlfriend, the two are never seen in any kind of moment that implies they might be a couple or any verbal confirmation from Megan herself. As such, GLAAD did not count either character in its tally.
Lionsgate is attached and planning to adapt the GLAAD Media Award-winning graphic novel Memetic into a feature film. The horror graphic novel, from out bi writer James Tynion IV, follows a meme that turns people into killers as it spreads across the internet. Protagonist Aaron realizes he is immune because he is colorblind, and he and his boyfriend Ryan try to find a way to save themselves and their loved ones. A queer lead in a horror film is a very exciting thing to see, especially given that Aaron also has represents the disabled community, and more stories like Memetic deserve the feature adaptation treatment.
Lionsgate has several opportunities for trans and non-binary character and storyline inclusion in upcoming films. There are two John Wick sequels set for future release, which provide an opportunity for Asia Kate Dillon’s character of The Adjudicator to return and to explicitly be written and acknowledged in the film as non-binary. Additionally, Hari Nef, an actress who is trans, has been cast in gaming film 1Up, alongside queer actress Ruby Rose. It is unclear if their characters will share their identities, but it can be an opportunity to tell the stories of communities who often aren’t front and center. Also, in the gaming world, Lionsgate is set to adapt video game Borderlands into a feature film. The popular game franchise has included various LGBTQ characters over the years, including Athena, Sir Hammerlock, and more; those characters should be included in the film adaptation as well.
Out filmmaker Joey Soloway is still tapped to direct Ride, a biopic of astronaut Sally Ride, who was in a relationship with another woman, Tam, for decades. The film presents an opportunity to delve into that relationship and explore more about Ride’s personal identity, as well as her incredible achievements. Lionsgate is set to produce an adaption of popular novel The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, which includes queer characters Chandresh and Tsukiko, who are both people of color. Though neither are leads, having these characters remain in the film adaptation is essential, and doing so would be an important declaration and affirmation that queer people of color belong in this fantastical world.
Founded by Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff in 2003, Roadside Attractions specializes largely in independent films. Lionsgate bought a portion of the company in 2007. Notable LGBTQ-inclusive films previously released by the studio include I Love You Phillip Morris (2010), Dear White People, The Skeleton Twins (2014), Hello, My Name is Doris (2016), Whitney (2018), and Judy (2019).
Widest Theatrical Release: 132 theaters
This British drama centers on a man (Edward) announcing he’s leaving his wife (Grace) after almost three decades of marriage, and how both they and their son Jamie deal with the dissolution of the marriage. Toward the end of the film, after Grace moves beyond her initial heartbreak, she begins volunteering at a hotline, helping others who need someone to speak with. She meets a fellow volunteer whose boyfriend has left him and the two bond over their similar experiences. Later as a result of her discussion with this newfound friend, Grace asks Jamie if he’s gay, and though he’s not, it’s clear that Grace would support him if he was. Though it was a very small inclusion, it was nice that Grace found a friend in this gay man and that she would love her son no matter his sexual orientation.