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August 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

While Lions Gate Entertainment reported last week that it spent $7.3 million to fight activist investor Carl Icahn’s hostile takeover attempt, it may have received a far more valuable defense from Sylvester Stallone, whose Expendables (Stallone directed, co-wrote, and starred in it) topped the weekend box office with $35 million. Icahn has been demanding that the company’s studio, Lionsgate, get out of the risky movie business and stick to pay-TV, where it has churned out such hits as the Emmy-winning Mad Men, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Until now, Lionsgate has had more misses than hits, but the hits have been substantial and include the Saw horror flicks, Tyler Perry’s urban family films, and the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. Last March, Icahn declared, “This company should not be producing movies. … This is what these guys are doing, because, you know, hey, it’s fun. … They like to go to the Oscars. They stand up there shaking hands with the actors.” But Stallone on Sunday praised Lionsgate’s management for standing behind the movie. “I’m so grateful how those guys just dug in,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “Lionsgate hung tough and opened the purses.”