THE SKINNY
B.O. cume: $332 million
Toppers: Tom Ortenberg, prexy, theatrical films; Steve Rothenberg, prexy, domestic theatrical distribution; David Spitz, sr. VP, domestic theatrical distribution
New Releases: “The U.S. vs. John Lennon” (Sept. 15), “Employee of the Month” (Oct. 6), “Deliver Us From Evil” (Oct. 13), “Saw III” (Oct. 27), “Bug” (Dec. 1), “Pride” (Dec. 22), “Daddy’s Little Girls” (Feb 14), “Trade” (April)

What a year. In an Oscar shocker, Lionsgate stole the show when Paul Haggis’ “Crash” ($55 million) edged out Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” in the best pic race. The win gave Lionsgate the sort of stature it had previously lacked, having made much of its name with genre pics.

Hollywood’s biggest indie says the victory won’t change its course much, and that it doesn’t plan on getting too lofty, keeping up the diverse offerings.

The studio has beefed up its docu slate, including the upcoming release of “The U.S. vs. John Lennon” and “Deliver Us From Evil,” a wrenching film about a Catholic priest in Northern California who molested children for two decades.

Just before Halloween, Lionsgate will release “Saw III,” third installment in its most lucrative horror franchise ($250 million worldwide and counting).

That’s followed by chiller “Bug,” directed by William Friedkin and starring Ashley Judd. In January, the studio bows the sequel to “Hostel,” a pic so gory that Screen Gems turned it over to Lionsgate to handle.

On the more serious side, Lionsgate will send out inspirational sports drama “Pride,” starring Oscar nominee Terrence Howard, over the holidays. And in the spring, the studio unspools Kevin Kline starrer “Trade,” which revolves around illegal sex trafficking.

On the business side of things, there’s no end to the rumors that Lionsgate is ripe to be sold. Studio execs are so used to the question that they have an easy retort –“Everything is always for sale.”

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