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Lionsgate Launches Premiere Label, Jean McDowell to Head Marketing

Lionsgate is launching a new specialty film distribution label, dubbed Lionsgate Premiere, which will distribute up to 15 films annually.

The studio behind “The Hunger Games” is positioning the move as part of a wider diversification effort. Lionsgate runs other targeted brands, such as Codeblack Pictures, its urban films label, and Pantelion Films, a joint venture with Televisa that produces work for the Hispanic audience. It also partners with specialty distributor Roadside Attractions, which has produced such films as “Arbitrage” and “Mud.”

Marketing initiatives for the new label will be headed by Lionsgate senior VP of marketeting and research Jean McDowell. Lionsgate chief marketing officer Tim Palen will supervise the promotional efforts, while Adam Sorensen, currently manager of Western sales at Lionsgate, will take charge of Lionsgate Premiere’s distribution operations.

Lionsgate said that Premiere will focus on multiplatform and other release strategies, which indicates that it will move aggressively into the on-demand and streaming space.

Lionsgate Premiere’s slate appears to be a mixture of horror and action titles. It will kick off this fall with the Chinese production “Dragon Blade,” whose all-star cast includes Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody and John Cusack. Other films include “Cooties,” starring Rainn Wilson and Elijah Wood; “Don Verdean,” starring Sam Rockwell, Danny McBride and Will Forte; horror thriller “Knock Knock,” from Eli Roth and Keanu Reeves; and the action thriller “Extraction,” featuring Bruce Willis and Kellan Lutz.

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