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Lionsgate in its Element

Studio to release pics coined by shingle

Lionsgate will give a wide release to nine pics fully financed and produced by Sam Nazarian’s indie production company Element Films –which also will pay for P&A under the three-year pact.

Nazarian, an L.A. real estate entrepreneur and hotelier, and Adam Rosenfelt formed Element in 2003 with an eye to turning out films in the $10 million-$20 million range. Shingle is a partner in Louisiana-based film fund LA Squared.

Element is also looking to the revitalized MGM as a distrib partner. The Lion will release “Mr. Brooks,” which Element is fully financing and producing along with Tig and Eden Rock Media. Pic stars Kevin Costner, Demi Moore and William Hurt.

Output deal with Lionsgate calls for Element to turn over three films a year. Element will select six of the titles, Lionsgate the other three. Rosenfelt, prexy of the shingle, will produce all nine.

Element Films Intl., headed by John Fremes, will handle international sales for the films.

First up is romantic teen comedy “Prom,” from Lionsgate’s development slate. Film, set to begin lensing in New Orleans in June, will mark John Chu’s directorial debut.

When shooting a pic in Louisiana, Element can opt to take advantage of LA Squared, a blend of private money, bank loans and state tax credits. Element, however, doesn’t necessarily intend to shoot all of its movies in the state.

In something of a test run, Element and Lionsgate already have collaborated — using the same arrangement — on two films: Ryan Reynolds starrer “Waiting,” which was released last fall, and the upcoming “Five Fingers,” a thriller starring Laurence Fishburne and Ryan Phillippe. “Waiting,” made for $3 million, took in more than $16 million at the box office and shipped more than 2.5 million DVDs.

Lionsgate prexy of acquisitions and co-productions Peter Block said the Element deal is key to expanding the studio’s pipeline of 18-20 releases a year by providing a reliable flow of product “in a cost-effective way.”

“We couldn’t be happier,” said Nazarian, pointing to Lionsgate’s strong run at the box office. “They are tireless marketers and demonstrate a tremendous enthusiasm and creativity, not to mention results in their efforts.”

Aside from “Waiting” and “Five Fingers,” Element has produced and financed four other movies: “Down in the Valley,” starring Edward Norton, Evan Rachel Wood and Bruce Dern, which will be released by ThinkFilm; “Freshmen Orientation,” starring John Goodman; “Evil Remains,” starring Estella Warren, Ashley Scott and Daniel Gilles; and “The Last Time,” a dramedy starring Michael Keaton and Brendan Fraser.