With Lionsgate expanding and landing a $340 credit line, it’s easy for the studio to forget about its fanbase. Or is it? As I reported previously, horror aficionados are furious that Lionsgate’s Joe Drake is moving away from this genre of films in favor of more mainstream fare like Tyler Perry. (This month, Lionsgate signed hit factory Perry to a new 3-year first-look deal to distribute at least 3 more Perry films — after releasing 5 Perry pics since 2005.) Well, this weekend Lionsgate officially dumped Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train. And not just into a tiny 102 theaters but humiliatingly into the dollar and second run theaters where it made $32,000 ($313 per screen). Now fans are worried Lionsgate will do the same to other films they’re hotly anticipating, like Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Burrowers. All are ex-Lionsgate head Peter Block’s films, so Drake has a vested interest in making Block’s movies look bad at the box office even if he may be doing it for moral reasons. (I’ve long campaigned that execs should look inward before releasing “Hard R” horror films, especially those that feature torture porn.) As one horror fan asked me, “The question is, why does Lionsgate want the movie to make less money than it would normally in limited theaters? Something seems off.” The answer may well be studio politics.
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