Lionsgate detailed three films it will produce as part of an initiative to create films with budgets under $2 million. The titles include "Rapturepalooza," described as "a post-apocalyptic comedy," "Gay Dude," a coming-of-age comedy "with a twist" and supernatural thriller "6 Miranda Drive."
Lionsgate expects most of the division's films to fall into either the comedy or horror genres, which it called "sweet spots" for the company and "historically driven more by concept and execution than budget."
Additionally, the company plans to "feature predominantly minority casts in many of the projects as well, continuing their excellent track record of connecting with underserved urban audiences." 3D will also be featured in several upcoming projects.
Lionsgate plans to produce up to 10 films each year under its microbudget initiative, which was conceived and structured by Sean Kisker, Lionsgate’s executive VP of strategic planning and operations. Lionsgate’s Matt Kaplan is spearheading implementation and overseeing the productions.
“Microbudget films involve minimal overhead and very little risk, but a potentially high reward," said Lionsgate motion picture group president Joe Drake. "This initiative allows us to add another layer to our slate of movies that work both financially and creatively.”
“The productions will function as an incubator for promising new actors and filmmakers," added Michael Paseornek, president of motion picture production and development. "They will experience the best of both the independent and studio worlds – the freedom to make the movies they envision, but with the infrastructure, support and guidance of our studio behind them. We expect this arrangement to translate not only into some great films with the potential to really break through, but into productive ongoing talent and filmmaker relationships that could pay off in lots of different ways down the road.”
Lionsgate's three announced "micro-budgeted" projects, with descriptions provided by the company:
"Rapturepalooza." 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"), with both Matheson and Robinson also executive producing. The film is being directed by commercial director Paul Middleditch, and will be produced by Mosaic ("The Other Guys") and Ed Solomon. "Rapturepalooza" 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 ("Julie & Julia") is in negotiations to produce the film with Jai Stefan.
"6 Miranda Drive." 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. Mclean is also client of Mosaic’s management division.