Lionsgate, A Studio With No Conscience


The Pulitzer-prize winning New Orleans local newspaper thinks it’s an outrage that Lionsgate is releasing Disaster Movie on the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The studio that has hawked torture porn for years has now decided to make a buck off the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people, and on the eve of another terrible storm about to strike the Gulf states. “Around these Katrina-scarred parts, Aug. 29 is still — and will be for some time — a black-armband kind of day,” criticized Mike Scott, the movie writer for the local newspaper The Times-Picayune. “For Lionsgate studios, however, Aug. 29 isn’t quite as sacred. For them, the third anniversary of the day the levees were breached and New Orleans slipped under is something on the order of perfect timing: a ripped-from-the-headlines release date.” Lionsgate is quick to point out that the pic’s disaster isn’t meteorological; it’s an incoming meteor and claims the opening date is an unfortunate coincidence. “The film does not depict or parody any actual natural disaster, and the release date of ‘Disaster Movie’ is in no way a reference to or joke about the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina,” read a studio statement prepared for The Times-Picayune. As the newspaper noted, “That’s a hard line to swallow. Tasteless humor and B-movie comedies have their place. But this confluence of dates isn’t just a cheap laugh. It’s a cheap shot to an entire region still digging out from an all-too-real disaster.”

Especially when the film was shot in Shreveport, “the place that started siphoning film business from New Orleans within weeks of the storm,” Scott wrote. “Neither Friedberg nor Seltzer can credibly plead ignorance to the significance of Aug. 29 or its continued impact on this part of the country. They shot their previous spoof, Meet the Spartans, in New Orleans last year during the July and August lead-up to the second anniversary of Katrina. Surely they ventured far enough from the coziness of their hotel rooms to witness the lingering devastation of one of the worst natural disasters in American history.” Oh and irony of ironies, the film’s box office will be impacted this weekend by another bad storm. So most Gulf Coast state residents will be too busy making evacuation plans for Gustav which is heading their way now. “Lionsgate might find that funny. New Orleans isn’t laughing,” Scott concluded.

I say shame on studio bosses Jon Feltheimer and Joe Drake. 

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