Lions Gate open to Ichise’s ‘J-Horror’ films

Package of pix to be helmed by six Japanese helmers

Lions Gate has acquired worldwide distribution rights, excluding Japan, to producer Taka Ichise’s six-pic horror package “J-Horror Theater.”

The franchise is being directed by six Japanese horror masters who, along with Ichise, have helped fuel the Japanese boom in the genre.

Lions Gate unveiled four additional directors to be attached to the projects on the slate. They are Takashi Shimizu (“Ju-on: The Grudge”), Hideo Nakata (“Ring,” “Ring 2,” “Dark Water”), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (“Cure,” “Pulse”) and, in his directorial debut, screenwriter Hirosh Takahashi, who penned Ichise’s “Ring” trilogy.

Entertainment Farm reps a significant departure for Japanese filmmaking in its creation of a $30 million rolling investment fund; negotiations of first-look deals with Japanese helmers; emphasis on development; and determination to make pics in Japanese or English, sometimes tapping foreign key cast.

“Taka Ichise is known as a hands-on producer with a unique creative vision who can instigate fear that is fundamental and instinctive rather than manipulative,” said Sergei Yershov, co-prexy of Lions Gate Films Intl.

“His style of filmmaking does not rely on cheap scares or special effects, and his films are so creepy and disturbing that the audience has a hard time forgetting them. These six films will reaffirm Taka’s reputation as reigning master of the new wave of horror films coming from Japan.”