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Micro Budget Film Venture from Lionsgate Plans Comedy and Horror

by
March 30, 2011
Source: THR

Lionsgate

Lionsgate has big projects like the forthcoming adaptation of The Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence under their belt, the company is now making moves into micro budget films with an initiative to make films with budgets under $2 million. As Lionsgate motion picture group president Joe Drake says, "Microbudget films involve minimal overhead and very little risk, but a potentially high reward. This initiative allows us to add another layer to our slate of movies that work both financially and creatively." The first three films in this new effort have been revealed, and you can find out more about them below.

Here are the three initial projects from Lionsgate as revealed by THR:

Rapture-Palooza - A comedic look at life after the fallout of a religious apocalypse. Best described as Zombieland meets The Big Lebowski, the script was written by Chris Matheson and stars comic actor Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express, Hot Tub Time Machine), with both Matheson and Robinson also executive producing.  The film is being directed by acclaimed commercial director Paul Middleditch, and will be produced by Mosaic (Bad Teacher, The Other Guys) and Ed Solomon. Rapture-Palooza will begin production this spring.

Gay Dude - A coming of age comedy in the vein of Superbad. Best friends Matty and Michael decide to lose their virginity before graduating from high school, but their quest takes an unexpected turn when Matty tells Michael he’s gay. What follows is a funny, heartfelt story about friendship, prejudice, love, and the trials and triumphs of growing up. Lionsgate plucked the script, written by Alan Yang (NBC's "Parks and Recreation"), from the Black List, the annual compilation of Hollywood’s hottest unproduced screenplays. Lawrence Mark (As Good As It Gets, Jerry Maguire) is in negotiations to produce the film with Jai Stefan.

6 Miranda Drive - is a supernatural thriller in the vein of Poltergeist, from Greg Mclean who wrote and directed the cult classic horror film Wolf Creek.  Based on true events, the movie is about a family that unwittingly brings a supernatural force home with them from vacation. Feeding off their own fears, the evil presence threatens to destroy them from within as it takes over their lives and home, with terrifying results. Mosaic is producing along with Mclean, and he will direct the film.

Lionsgate exec Matt Kaplan comments on the new venture:

"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. That means big, distinctive concepts, but it also means focusing on the humanity of the story. All the movies we greenlight will push the envelope of what we've seen on screen. The low-budget aspect definitely imposes some constraints, but also forces us to find our value in great characters, explosive situations and excellent writing. And we’re excited that some of the best in the creative community are eager to jump in with us.”

It sounds like Lionsgate is keen on getting some of that sweet dough that Paramount made after picking up Paranormal Activity (a film which cost $15,000 to make, but made over $100 million at the box office) and then making a sequel which raked in $84 million after only costing $3 million. However, the word microbudget seems to be a bit generous in this case considering $2 million is still a hefty chunk of change to make a film. That may be nothing compare to blockbuster budgets, but that's more than most indie movies cost that head to film festivals. Anyway, these projects at least sound interesting. What do you think?

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  • Bart
    Ha, "micro budget"! I wish I made a "micro salary" then.
  • Dan W
    Regardless of the term I think this is an amazing idea and I hope more companies hop on it. I like the comment about the smaller budget forcing them to consider what is really important to the movie, such as good characters, story, and situations. I'm looking forward to seeing how these movies and this idea turns out
    • Bart
      I agree, but as a real life "indie filmmaker" myself and in the truest sense of the term, I was expecting something like a 250K budget for these films when I read the headline. It's a shame that all producers aren't interested in "finding our value in great characters, explosive situations and excellent writing." All movies should strive for these, regardless of the budget.
  • Cracky
    I've always liked what Lionsgate brought to the table. It's good to see a bit of panache in their business. I, personally, do not think all studios should strive to do what these cats are attempting-- only a select few could actually pull it off without going under financially.
  • Jackson
    "...fresh stories told in bold ways..." These all sound rehashed and only tweaked slightly from the films they're compared to in the very description. When will the fresh stories come about?
  • David Banner
    Worldwide, that turd of a film PA, made $197 million at the boxoffice, and a $16,5 million in DVD sales in the US. The second turd in ths franchise made $177 million worldwide at the box office and another $13million on DVD sales in the US. Worldwide DVD sales I could not find, I'd guess the same figures atleast.....not including rentals and tv-rights, it's over $400 million; maybe close to $450 million with worldwide DVD sales and TV-rights for some crappy films about moving sheets....just thought I'd toss that out there.... When Lionsgate says they'll make movies for a million or 2, they do not say how much on marketing. I think the 'Lionsgate standard' is $20million in marketing?
  • Stevebeer
    Micro budget? The Aussies make full length features that win Oscars and Baftas for less. Look at Wolf Creek, Macbeth, Mad Max, Blame and Gallipoli. They have low cost feature production down to a fine art.

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