Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) has officially moved into production with the formation of Stage 6 Films, a new division that will acquire and produce genre films with an eye for sequels and prequels of existing properties.

Screen Gems vice presidents of production Peter Nelson and Nick Phillips will oversee production along with SPWAG's senior vice president of acquisitions and production Lara Thompson and executive director of acquisitions and production Scott Shooman.

Stage 6 will release between 10-15 films a year starting in early 2008, with productions capped at approximately $10m. Once filming has wrapped, top brass will decide whether to release an individual title in theatres or via another platform, for example direct-to-video.

In the case of theatrical releases, SPWAG's sister labels at Sony - TriStar, Screen Gems or Sony Pictures Classics - will always be offered the film first. Should they pass, the Stage 6 release will be offered to favoured third party distributors like Samuel Goldywn Films, Yari Film Releasing, Freestyle Releasing, or Newmarket.

The initial Stage 6 slate, which is in various states of preparedness, comprises: action film Conspiracy starring Val Kilmer, Gary Cole and Jennifer Esposito with Adam Marcus directing; thriller Dark Country starring Thomas Jane in his directorial debut alongside Lauren German; the horror-thriller The Stone House directed by Alex Turner and starring Shane West, J K Simmons and Leonard Roberts; The Lodger starring Alfred Molina with David Ondaatje directing; and Ric Roman Waugh directing the thriller Felon, which stars Kilmer, Stephen Dorff and Harold Perrineau.

The roster includes the sequels Starship Troopers: Marauder directed by Edward Neumeier and starring Casper Van Dien, Boris Kodjoe and Jolene Blalock, and Art Of War 2 directed by Josef Rusnak and starring Wesley Snipes. Among upcoming projects are Vacancy 2, and Center Stage 2, a sequel to the cult dance drama.

Stage 6 will consider co-productions with third party producers. On the acquisitions front SPWAG will operate in its usual capacity, buying worldwide or select international rights throughout the year to properties. Where appropriate, the unit may acquire English-language remake rights to genre titles and push them into production.

'We felt it was time to wrap a label around our core activities,' SPWAG's senior executive vice president and general manager Adrian Alperovich said. 'Stage 6 is a production label, but it is housed in the acquisitions group, and we have two very talented executives in Peter and Nick who will be working alongside Lara and Scott.

Stage 6 will also release titles from SPWAG's library of studio films, the most recent of which was the theatrical release through TriStar of the family comedy Daddy Day Camp.