Lionsgate Has Struck A Streaming Deal With Roku – Here's What That Means

As the streaming landscape continues to evolve, Lionsgate is giving one lesser celebrated options a leg up on the competition. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie studio has inked a deal with The Roku Channel that will send new Lionsgate films to the streamer. The company will still show movies theatrically first, then give its films first streaming priority to the Starz cable channel (a Lionsgate subsidiary) before they land on The Roku Channel.

This is big news for upcoming potential moneymakers like "John Wick: Chapter Four," "Expendables 4," and the Nicolas Cage meta-comedy "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," which is already in theaters. For most folks at home, it simply means that if you don't catch a Lionsgate film in theaters and don't want to shell out for the paid cable channel Starz, you'll eventually get a chance to catch these movies on the free, ad-supported Roku Channel.

The Roku Channel has entered the arena

Though The Roku Channel was originally conceived as an add-on for Roku streaming devices, the content on the streamer is now available on a standalone website. As a long-time Roku loyalist, I can attest that the channel has some surprisingly great streaming options for its price tag of zero dollars. Still, the addition of recent Lionsgate releases is a step up for the streamer, whose most major deal to date involves acquiring the Quibi back catalogue.

The rise in prominence of ad-supported free TV options (or FAST, as it's been referred to) has been noteworthy in recent months, with another option, Tubi, standing out thanks to its impressive horror slate and its own content deal with STX. It seems like everywhere I turn, someone's recommending a title that's available on "something called Tubi." Plus, PlutoTV continues to make waves too. This new Lionsgate-Roku deal could easily launch The Roku Channel into the film-lovers' discourse in a similar way. 

Along with the action movies listed above, future Lionsgate projects that are expected to make their way to The Roku Channel include a take on the Judy Blume classic "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," Eli Roth's "Borderlands," and the middle-grade graphic novel adaptation "White Bird: A Wonder Story."

If you feel a sense of relief coursing through you knowing that you won't have to hunt down these titles anytime soon, don't get too comfortable. The "film output deal" between Lionsgate and The Roku Channel includes two different streaming windows, one after the films finish up their paid first run window at Starz, and a more flexible second one at a later date. This means the movies won't always be available on the streamer. The game of digital media roulette never ends!