Late in 2011 we brought you news that two of the smaller studios, Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment, were considering merging. As of today, that merger is officially a reality, with Lionsgate having acquired Summit for a combined sum of $412.5 million.

If you are not one of those TV/movie fans who keeps their eye on the business end of the biz: This basically means that young adult movie franchises The Twilight Saga (owned by Summit) and The Hunger Games (owned by Lionsgate) are now sharing the same roof over their heads, alongside Mad Men‘s Don Draper.

Check out a few snippets from the official press release about the merger:

Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment today announced that Lionsgate has completed a transaction to acquire Summit for a combination of cash and stock valued at $412.5 million.

The transaction unites two leading studios with powerful brands and complementary assets, solidifying Lionsgate’s position as the world’s largest and most diversified independent entertainment company. By acquiring Summit, Lionsgate enhances its feature film and home entertainment offerings and further broadens its 13,000 title filmed entertainment library to include such titles as The Twilight Saga, The Hurt Locker and Red. The integration of both Summit’s domestic and international theatrical film operations will significantly enhance Lionsgate’s production and distribution capacity, while also extending the Company’s worldwide reach and creating a dominant international sales organization.

The transaction brings together Summit’s Twilight Saga feature film franchise, which has already grossed more than $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office, and Lionsgate’s highly anticipated Hunger Games franchise, which opens on March 23, 2012. Lionsgate will also continue to benefit from its premier television production and distribution business, its array of branded film and television properties, its suite of branded channels and its success as an innovator in creating and distributing content for digital platforms. Both the Lionsgate and Summit labels are expected to continue and be active in the production and distribution of films, although the combined company expects to realize significant synergies through the consolidation of administrative and other costs.

To put this into plain English: what you’re looking at is two minor studios that have seen a moderate amount of success in recent years combining forces to bigger and better things. Aside from the aforementioned Hunger Games franchise, Lionsgate has had moderate success in both TV (with shows like Mad Men, Weeds, and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne) and movies (The Lincoln Lawyer, The Expendables, Precious, Kick-Ass and several Tyler Perry films). Aside from Twilight, Summit’s success has been regulated to a few breakout films, including Red, The Hurt Locker, Source Code, and current awards contender, 50/50.

Both studios having been doing alright for themselves, but there is a clear need for increased success if they hope to get a few steps closer to running with the big boys in the industry, such as Time Warner (which owns Warner Bros.) or Viacom (which owns Paramount).

Does this merger mean we could see an eventual meeting between Bella Swan and Katniss Everdeen? Probably (kidding! Kidding!). In all seriousness, though: hopefully smaller studios like these will result in some bigger risks that offer us more original TV/Movie ideas- rather than the string of remakes, reboots, and brand-established fare we’ve been getting in the last few years. We’ll see.

Source: Summit/Lionsgate