'Rapturepalooza,' 'Gay Dude,' '6 Miranda Drive' greenlighted

Lionsgate has named the first three titles to be produced under its new microbudget production initiative for films with budgets under $2 million.

The projects are “Rapturepalooza,” a post-apocalyptic comedy; “Gay Dude,” a coming-of-age comedy with a twist; and supernatural thriller “6 Miranda Drive.” Announcement was made Wednesday by Joe Drake, president of the motion picture group.

Paramount set up a similar initiative in the wake of the success of 2009′s micro-budget horror vehicle “Paranormal Activity.”

Lionsgate said up to 10 films will be produced each year under the microbudget umbrella. Initiative was conceived and structured by Sean Kisker, Lionsgate’s exec VP of strategic planning. Lionsgate noted that the initiative was inspired by its success with the “Saw” franchise and “The Blair Witch Project.”

“Microbudget films involve minimal overhead and very little risk but a potentially high reward,” Drake said. “This initiative allows us to add another layer to our slate of movies that work both financially and creatively.”

Production and development prexy Michael Paseornek said, “The productions will function as an incubator for promising new actors and filmmakers.”

“Rapturepalooza” was written by Chris Matheson and stars Craig Robinson with both Matheson and Robinson also exec producing.  Paul Middleditch is directing; Mosaic and Ed Solomon produce. It will begin production this spring.

“Gay Dude” centers on two male best friends who decide to lose their virginity before graduating from high school, but their quest takes an unexpected turn after one tells the other he’s gay. Script by Alan Yang (NBC’s “Parks and “Recreation”) was included on theBlack List. Lawrence Mark is in negotiations to produce the film with Jai Stefan.

“6 Miranda Drive” is from Greg Mclean, who wrote and directed “Wolf Creek.” Story concerns a family that unwittingly brings a supernatural force home with them from vacation. Mosaic is producing along with Mclean, who will direct.

Lionsgate said most of the films made in the division will be in comedy or horror genres, and it will look to feature predominantly minority casts in many of the projects.

It also said several of the films will be shot in 3D.

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