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Lionsgate is launching a specialty division as it continues diversifying its film slate by reaching into the genre film markets with horror maestros and star-driven action thrillers.
Lionsgate Premiere, to release around 15 films annually both theatrically and on digital platforms, will kick off this fall with the Chinese box-office performer Dragon Blade, which stars Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody and John Cusack. That will be followed by the release of the Sundance zom-com Cooties, starring Rainn Wilson and Elijah Wood and written by Saw franchise co-creator Leigh Whannell, and the comedy Don Verdean, starring Sam Rockwell, Danny McBride and Will Forte.
Marketing for the Lionsgate Premiere slate will be headed by Lionsgate senior vp marketing and research Jean McDowell, with the studio’s chief marketing officer Tim Palen overseeing the new label. Adam Sorensen, currently manager of Western sales at Lionsgate, will oversee the new division’s distribution operations.
“Lionsgate Premiere embodies the unique attributes of our motion picture business — our diversity, our focus on audiences in our sweet spot and ability to create release strategies attuned to next-generation moviegoers,” said Lionsgate motion picture group co-chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger in a joint statement.
The launch of Lionsgate Premiere, to release titles from both the Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment labels, follows rival studios in recent years closing up or rejiggering their own specialty divisions.
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