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Lionsgate Films

Lionsgate Films is a production-distribution company, a subsidiary of Lions Gate Entertainment. It is currently one of the largest independent film distributors in North America. It focuses mainly on foreign and independent films, and is known for distributing controversial films like Fahrenheit 9/11 and American Psycho. In some cases, films which are distributed by Lions Gate theatrically will have their DVDs distributed by other studios.

The original company was founded by director Robert Altman, who named it after a Vancouver landmark, the Lions’ Gate Bridge. Among Lionsgate’s first films included 3 Women (1977) and A Wedding (1979). In 1981, Altman sold the company to Jonathan Taplin. During much of the 1990s, the company was known as Cinépix Film Properties Inc. (CFP).

The current incarnation of Lionsgate was initiated in 1997 by Frank Giustra, a Vancouver investment banker hoping to capitalize on the growing film industry in his home town. The company bought a number of small production facilities and distributors. Its first success was American Psycho, which began a trend of producing and distributing films far too controversial for the major American studios. Other successes included Affliction, Gods and Monsters, Dogma, and the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which became the studio’s highest grossing film.

In 2000, Guistra left the firm and it was taken over by Jon Feltheimer and Michael R. Burns. They decided to focus on the profits of videos and DVDs and began buying struggling firms that controlled large libraries. The two most notable acquisitions were Trimark Pictures Inc. and Artisan Entertainment. These two, along with other firms, gave Lionsgate the second largest DVD library of any company, including Total Recall,

Reservoir Dogs, On Golden Pond, Young Guns, Dirty Dancing and It’s a Wonderful Life, in some cases via output deals with StudioCanal, ITC/Carlton, and Republic Pictures (the result of prior licensing deals with Lionsgate’s home video predecessor Artisan).

Occasionally Lionsgate has co-produced films in conjunction with a major studio. For example, Lionsgate (through then-subsidiary Artisan) teamed with Miramax Films for the 2004 sequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and with Paramount Pictures for 2002’s Narc and 2004’s The Prince & Me. Lionsgate was also a silent partner in 20th Century Fox’s 2004 sci-fi film The Day After Tomorrow. In 2004, Lionsgate joined forces with independent rival United Artists in producing Hotel Rwanda. The company also has a television division that has made shows such as The Dead Zone. The company also recently has launched a record label.[citation needed]

 Other notable films include Crash, the studio’s firstfilm to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture; Lord of War; and Saw. Another recent franchise is Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Family Reunion, which was the first film of 2006 to be the #1 Movie in America for two weeks in a row.

In 2005, Lionsgate’s Canadian distribution business was sold to Maple Pictures, a company founded by two former Lionsgate executives. That same year Lionsgate acquired UK-based distributor Redbus Films, renaming the company Lionsgate UK.

Lionsgate has recently undergone an agreement with WWE Films to distribute movies such as See No Evil and The Condemned.

Lionsgate maintains high profit margins by not financing many films they release. Instead, it either co-produces films with producing partners or acquires rights to the film at festivals, as was the case with Saw, Cabin Fever, and Open Water.

Lionsgate began to self-distribute its titles on home video after acquiring Trimark Pictures and its in-house home video division, allowing them to end a home video distribution agreement with Universal. After the purchase of Artisan Entertainment, whose home video distribution was handled by Fox, Lionsgate picked up Fox as a home-video distributor.

Lionsgate chose to distribute its high-definition DVD content exclusively in Blu-ray format, which eventually became the industry standard.

In 2007, the company announced the inclusion of its film and TV show library to be added to the iTunes Store catalogue. The same year, the company reached an agreement with ReelTime.com to provide pay-per-view content over a streaming peer-to-peer network.

A few of Lionsgate Studios’ film productions:

    * Battlestar Galactica

    * Catwoman

    * Dark Angel

    * Elektra

    * Final Destination 3

    * The Final Cut

    * The Fog

    * Scary Movie 3

    * Scary Movie 4

    * Tru Calling

    * White Chicks

    * Men in Trees

    * The 4400

    * X Files

    * Man About Town

    * Kyle XY

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