The programme will focus on films under $2m and the first three are post-apocalyptic comedy Rapture-Palooza, comedy Gay Dude and supernatural thriller 6 Miranda Drive, to be directed by Wolf Creek creator Greg McLean.
The company plans to produce up to 10 a year under the initiative, which evp of strategic planning and operations Sean Kisker [pictured] conceived and structured. Lionsgate’s Matt Kaplan will oversee productions.
Going forward the company said it envisioned most of the slate as comedies or horror and will look to its catalogue as a possible source of material. All titles will get the full support of Lionsgate’s international sales, home entertainment and digital platforms.
“Microbudget films involve minimal overhead and very little risk, but a potentially high reward,” Lionsgate motion picture group president Joe Drake said. “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,” president of motion picture production and development Michael Paseornek added. “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.”
Kaplan added: “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.”
Rapture-Palooza is pitched as Zombieland meets The Big Lebowski and explores life after the fallout of a religious apocalypse. Chris Matheson wrote the screenplay and Craig Robinson will star when production gets underway this spring and serves as executive producer alongside Matheson. Paul Middleditch is directing and Mosaic and Ed Solomon are producing.
Gay Dude is a coming-of-age comedy in the vein of Superbad and is based on Alan Yang’s Black List script. Lawrence Mark is in talks to produce with Jai Stefan.
6 Miranda Drive is in the vein of Poltergeist and comes from Mclean. Mosaic is producing along with Mclean, who will direct.