Michael R. Burns is an American entertainment executive who transformed ’Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’ into the success story it is today. Burns started his career as a sales representative for IBM, before making it big as an investment banker. He specialised in raising fresh capital for the media and entertainment industry, which led to his induction into the board of directors of Lionsgate. At that time, Lionsgate was a fledgling business trying to achieve success in the world of entertainment. Burns not only provided the much-needed capital for the business to run smoothly, but also the vision for the future. Today it is a multi-billion-dollar company; it generated $3.68 billion revenue in 2019. His association with the world of entertainment is not limited to just his professional life. His first wife, Lori Loughlin, was a star on American sitcom ‘Full House.’ He has been married to actress Pell James since 2006, and has three children with her.
Starting as a sales representative for IBM, he received much recognition as a lead performer. He spent 18 years of his initial professional life at the Wall Street. He joined the erstwhile Shearson/American Express in 1985, as an investment banker and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the Vice President and subsequently the Senior Vice President, before joining Prudential Securities Inc. in 1990 as Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking Office in Los Angeles. He became an expert in raising capital for the media and entertainment businesses and co-founded ‘Hollywood Stock Exchange’ in 1996. In 1999, Burns was invited to join the board of directors of Lionsgate studios, which was still at a nascent stage. By December of the same year, Burns, in collaboration with ex-Sony Pictures executive Jon Feltheimer, generated $ 33 million in equity for the company. After the initial influx of funds, both Burns and Feltheimer joined ‘Lionsgate’ as the Vice Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer, respectively. Under Burns supervision, Lionsgate produced a string of highly successful independent movies, such as ‘Monster’s Ball’ (for which Halle Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002), ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ (which became the highest grossing documentary of all times), and ‘Crash’ (which won three Oscars, including the ‘Best Picture’ in 2006). ‘Saw’ became the highest-grossing horror franchise ever, generating $860 million worldwide.
Today Lionsgate is not just an independent studio, buta mammoth of a corporation, which has branched out into television, video games, and entertainment parks. Over the years, Lionsgate has made several business acquisitions – ‘Trimark Holdings’ (2000), ‘Artisan Entertainment’ (2003), ‘Redbus Film Distributors’ (later renamed ‘Lionsgate UK’), ‘Debmar-Mercury’ (2006), ‘TV Guide Network’ (2009), and ‘Summit Entertainment’ (2012).
Burns has played an important role in the success of ‘Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’ which has blockbuster movie franchises like ‘Hunger Games’, ‘Twilight’, and ‘Divergent.’. On television, the company has made their mark with multiple ‘Emmy Award’-winning show ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Orange is the New Black.’
Other than being the Vice Chairman of ‘Lions Gate UK’ and ‘Lions Gate Films Inc,’ and executive vice chairman of ‘Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.,’ Burns has served on the board of many other companies.
He is an independent director at ‘Hasbro Inc.’ since 2014, served as a director at ‘CinemaNow Ltd.’ and ‘The Harvey Entertainment Company.’
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Childhood & Personal Life
Michael Raymond Burns was born on August 21, 1958, in Long Beach, New Jersey. His father worked in advertising and was a ‘World War II’ veteran. Burns grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, and graduated from ‘Arizona State University’ with a Bachelor’s degree in Science. He received his M.B.A from ‘John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management’ at the ‘UCLA.’
He was married to Lori Loughlin, from 1989 to 1996. The couple split after Loughlin fell in love with fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. Loughlin candidly accepts that she wasn’t particularly unhappy with her marriage to Burns, but she was too young to know what she wanted in life at the time. She also maintains that Burns is a great human being and she couldn’t say anything bad about him. Burns married actress Pell James on June 11, 2006, and has three children with her.