Lionsgate lines-up microbudget movies to be made under $2 million

MUMBAI: Lionsgate will begin production of films under a new category of microbudget movies. The first three films to be produced under its new microbudget production initiative, which is focused exclusively on producing films with budgets of under $2 million.

These films are (1) Rapturepalooza – a post-apocalyptic comedy; (2) Gay Dude – a coming of age comedy with a twist and (3) 6 Miranda Drive – a supernatural thriller.

Up to 10 films will be produced each year under the microbudget umbrella, which was conceived and structured by Lionsgate EVP of strategic planning and operations Sean Kisker. Lionsgate’s Matt Kaplan is spearheading implementation and overseeing the productions.

Lionsgate president of the motion picture group Joe Drake said, "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."

Lionsgate president of motion picture production and development Michael Paseornek added, "The productions will function as an incubator for promising new actors and filmmakers. 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."

Kaplan, who has been charged with identifying the most promising of these projects, said, "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."

Lionsgate expects most of the ensuing films made in the division to fall into either the comedy or horror genres, both of which are sweet spots for the company, and historically driven more by concept and execution than budget. Lionsgate will look to feature predominantly minority casts in many of the projects as well, continuing their excellent track record of connecting with underserved urban audiences. Several of the films will also be shot in 3D.

The initiative was inspired by and modeled on the runaway success of Lionsgate’s previous microbudget properties like The Blair Witch Project and the Saw franchise. The goal for all of these films is a similar breakout theatrical success. Lionsgate will also backstop each picture through its home entertainment, international and digital distribution businesses. The company will also leverage its library as a platform for some of the films, which may take the form of remakes or sequels to existing brands and properties.