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Lionsgate Names Initial ‘Micro’ Film Slate

30 Mar, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Looking to catch lightning in a bottle with minimal upfront fiscal risk, Lionsgate unveiled the initial slate of 10 planned low-budget theatrical releases.

The movies, with sub-$2 million productions, include Rapturepalooza, a post-apocalyptic comedy; Gay Dude, a coming-of-age comedy with a twist; and 6 Miranda Drive, a supernatural thriller.

All titles feature relatively unknown casts and directors with storylines that show promise both creatively and at the box office. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based minimajor has a history scoring hits on micro-budget titles, including The Blair Witch Project, Saw and Tyler Perry movies.

“When we look at the films that have broken out over the past few years, it's clear that movie-goers are hungry for fresh stories told in bold ways,” said Matt Kaplan, who is spearheading implementation and overseeing the productions. “That means big, distinctive concepts, but it also means focusing on the humanity of the story.”

Kaplan, who is working with Sean Kisker, EVP of strategic planning and operations and creator of the concept, said the low-budget aspect imposes constraints on production values and forces producers to find extra value in characters, explosive situations and excellent writing.

“We’re excited that some of the best in the creative community are eager to jump in with us,” he said.

All micro-budget releases, which focus primarily on horror and comedy, also will have full home entertainment distribution, including packaged media, digital and foreign distribution.

In its most recent fiscal call with analysts, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer touted low-budget theatrical releases as integral to the studio’s culture.

“If you are skeptical about movies made for a $1 million budget, let me remind of Saw, Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project — two of which were Lionsgate projects,” Feltheimer said.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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