Progress on the the sequel to Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity took a step backward after Lionsgate yanked Saw VI director Kevin Greutert off the project by exercising a contractual option that forced Greutert to direct Saw VII instead. With both Saw VII and Paranormal Activity 2 sharing the same release date of October 22, the move was a measured uppercut to Paramount's prized Paranormal franchise, which Lionsgate blamed for Saw VI's poor box office performance.
With Greutert already working on Saw VII, Paramount is looking to counter Lionsgate by hiring a "big name" director. According to the LA Times, Paramount has narrowed its choices down to three directors: Australian director Greg McLean (whose Rogue introduced audiences to Sam Worthington), Brad Anderson (who directed the truly scary Session 9), and legendary director Brian De Palma (Carrie, Scarface). At one point, Paramount was even talking to Akiva Goldsman, the Academy-Award winning screenwriter of A Beautiful Mind, to helm the project, proving that Paramount is pushing for a more polished director for their follow-up to their low-budget original.
Whichever choice Paramount makes, it's clear that the competition over who will win the weekend of October 22 is far from over. Posted 02.27.10 by Ryan
Kevin Greutert wasn't happy when Lionsgate exercised its contract option on the Saw VI director, forcing him to abandon the upcoming sequel to Paranormal Activity and instead direct Saw VII only a week before production was set to begin. On Sunday, Greutert wrote in to the HouseofJigsaw fan forums to announce the start of shooting.
Well, team, it's hard to believe, but I start rolling high res 3D video on this movie tomorrow morning. It's still an unreal fog to me (the experience, not the 3D video, although come to think of it ... well, never mind that for now...), having one week to prep the most expensive SAW film of all. We've attempted a comprehensive rewrite on the script since I got here, but it's tough: the sets are built, the traps are built, the storyline is set, and any major changes mean throwing out existing stuff, and it's hard to find the time, money and will to do things a different way.
The good news for Greutert is that he likely won't be pulled from another movie to work on another Saw sequel. In a recent UK radio interview with Demon FM, screenwriter Patrick Melton said he felt that Saw VII, now called Saw VII Endgame will likely be the final chapter of the long-running franchise.
I mean, I think it's going to end with Saw VII. I have a very strong feeling its going to end with Saw VII. That's something we're debating now. You saw in previous interviews or discussions where we thought Saw VIII would be the last one where we had the first trilogy and the second trilogy and then sort of a grand finale wrapped up in two films. But frankly because Saw VI hasn't performed as well as we anticipated, the idea is well why make two movies when we can make one really excellent movie that wraps up as best we can? And it's going to be in 3-D which sort of adds to the spectacle. So if you had to ask me, I don't own the franchise, nor do I run the studio, but I have a feeling, a strong feeling that it's going to be Saw VII which will be also known as Endgame. And nothing's official yet, but that's where we're hoping things will go.
While box office will ultimately dictate the future of the Saw franchise, Melton says that they are not letting that deter them from thinking Saw VII will be the final chapter.
Oh, I think anytime something is very successful, in films especially, there's the automatic thought: "make another." So I think the more money something makes the more likely there's going to be a sequel. However, no one wants to see the Saw franchise beat down into the ground and opening at five million dollars and no one really caring. That's why a decision is close to being madeand an announcement is probably close to being made that this is the grand finale. I think certain powers that be will always be hesitant to say that so distinctly, but that's where our marching orders are leaning towards. We're not putting "Saw VII" at the top of our script books, we're putting "Saw: Endgame". So that's how we feel about it. Posted 02.09.10 by Ryan
Saw VI director Kevin Greutert may not be pleased with returning to direct Saw VII, though he may be cheered by the familiar face of actress Tanedra Howard. According to ShockTillYouDrop, Saw VII screenwriter Marcus Dunstan announced the Scream Queens winner will return for Saw VII during the director's commentary to Saw VI.
(Tanedra) was so good, that she's not only in this (opening) scene, and the anchor and victor of a very intense trap, but also has a nice emotional scene later, and has just been added into the mix for Saw VII.
The next installment in the Saw franchise will be in 3-D. Costas Mandylor will likely return as Detective Hoffman, and Tobin Bell should be back in flashbacks as the enigmatic Jigsaw. Greutert will, begrudgingly, direct from a script by Dunstan and Patrick Melton. Posted 02.01.10 by Ryan
When Lionsgate exercised their contract option on Kevin Greutert and forced the Saw VI director to abandon the sequel to Paranormal Activity in favor of directing Saw VII, Greutert wrote on his website that he planned to "fight for justice." If Greutert fought, he lost, and he's not happy about being caught in a Saw-like trap. According to ShockTillYouDrop, Greutert made his displeasure known in another statement on his website in a post titled "Woo hoo! Lawyers are sending me to Canada tomorrow!"
I just had the task of telling my 83 year old mother that no, I'm not going to be allowed to direct the movie we were all so excited about when my family last got together, and that I'm being forced to leave town before getting a chance to see her again. Yes, I'll be filming people getting tortured YET AGAIN. So we'll have to put off me making a film she can actually watch for another year.
Greutert has since removed the post from his website. Production begins on Saw VII in a couple weeks, while Paramount is now clearly in need of a director for Paranormal Activity 2. Posted 01.29.10 by Ryan
When the announcement was made that Saw VI director Kevin Greutert was hired to direct the sequel to Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity, it seemed like an ironic choice, considering Paranormal clobbered Saw VI at the box office. Even more ironic was that Paranormal Activity 2 was scheduled to do battle with the Saw franchise again, scheduling the sequel's opening alongside Saw VII on October 22. Lionsgate, apparently, didn't appreciate the irony.
Deadline Hollywood reports that Lionsgate has exercised a contractual option on Greutert which forces him to leave Paranormal 2 and helm Saw VII instead. Greutert will not have much time to prepare as Saw VII starts production in two weeks. The previously hired director David Hackl will be given another project to work on by the studio and likely a pat on the back for his work on the sequel's 3-D pre-production, which Hackl has been working on since last September.
Greutert seems disturbed by the move, clearly desiring to move on from the Saw franchise, for which he has been an editor since the beginning. According to ShockTillYouDrop, Greutert posted a statement to his fans on his website, before later removing it.
I'm in the middle of something really terrible right now, as anyone who has come to this site probably knows. While I fight for justice in this, the important thing is to avoid giving in to hatred and anger, because these emotions are life killers.
Hopefully we will all arrive at an amicable solution. Thank you to everyone who is working with me on this.
Lionsgate has long blamed Paranormal for Saw VI's poor box office showing, even though they did make a profit. Paramount has yet to announce a replacement for Greutert. Posted 01.27.10 by Ryan
At a recent media conference, Lionsgate vice-chairman Michael Burns said that Saw VI was "buzz-sawed" by Paranormal Activity at the box office.
Opening the same weekend, Paranormal easily beat Saw VI and continued to perform strongly, quickly becoming the most profitable movie ever made. Saw movies are never made with a high budget, so the poor performance has not kept Lionsgate from making money, which is all Burns said is needed to keep making more.
As long as we make money on it we'll keep doing this.
Saw VII is already in the works with Saw VIII in the planning stages, though a Saw producer says VIII may be the last one. Posted 11.15.09 by Ryan
Pre-production on Saw VII has already begun ... so despite the poor box office for Saw VI, the Saw series is far from over. Saw VII will look to revitalize the franchise, at least financially, with the series stepping into 3-D territory for the first time. Tobin Bell spoke to Fearnet about what it will be like to bring Jigsaw to the third dimension.
It will be an interesting experience. I'll be doing the same thing. Possibly doing it differently, like saying, "Reach out this way!" But I am going to be doing exactly what I always do. I am moreconcerned with the quality of the drama than I am in the special effects, I'll leave that to someone else. That's not my job. I'll bewatching with interest and listening for good counsel from the 3-D techs, who I'm sure will be lingering around me. And I'll be saying, get away from me!
Saw VII is scheduled to open in October of next year. David Hackl will direct from a script by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton. Posted 11.09.09 by Ryan
Saw VI's opening weekend was pretty lackluster both domestically and overseas. Paranormal Activity took the top spot at the U.S. box office, while Up grabbed the topspot for the U.K. box office.
This weekend, Saw VI hopes to rebound with a stronger showing, but it won't get any help from Spain, which has given Saw VI the country's first ever, violence-driven "X" rating. Ignasi Guardans of the Spanish Culture Ministry's Film Institute had this to say to THR:
I have followed, as usual, the proposal of the Cinematographic Film Ratings Commission. I could have acted differently, but I haven't found any reason to do so. Indeed, the money invested cannot be the reason to decide the rating of a film. Posted 10.29.09 by Ryan
If there's one thing that a Saw movie could count on, it was making a solid $30 million its opening weekend. The past four Saw sequels have all opened to the same box-office success. However, it appears that Saw VI won't share the same fate.
The nationwide release of Paranormal Activity has beaten Saw VI at the box office by earning $7.6 million on Friday, compared to Saw VI's $7 million.
At this pace, Saw VI is looking to make $12 million this weekend, which would be the weakest opening for a Saw movie since the first one entered theaters. Looks like audiences are looking for something new, an actually scary movie. Posted 10.25.09 by Ryan
Saw VI, like the previous five Saw installments, was not screened for critics. This is typically a pretty bad sign. On that front, Saw VI does not disappoint.
"Saw VI is not as elaborately plotted as prior sequels, but it doesn't need to be. After the last couple of halfassed tries, it's nice to have one that finally delivers a decent ending."
— Luke Y. Thompson, E! Online
"Because Saw does nothing to alter the look, tone, and engineered gimmickry from one movie to the next, it keeps going deeper into backstory and character arcs than horror series past, as if this ugly, cheap-looking schlock were somehow The Lord Of The Rings."
— Scott Tobias, Onion AV Club
"As usual, what gives the film whatever interest it has — beyond satisfying the rapacious appetites of gore aficionados — is the moral element attached to the various Rube Goldberg-style set pieces."
— Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"Saw VI is the thinnest, draggiest, and most tediously preachy of the Saw films."
— Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"...the quality of the torture machines and the importance of the rules that the subjects of the torture "games" must follow continue to decline. The Saw films have always been more about the gruesome toys and the puzzles than about the scares. In VI, one test involves dodging hot steam. That's quite a comedown from the good old days of being drowned in liquefied hog carcasses, or having to remove your own foot with a hacksaw."
— Mike Hale, New York Times Posted 10.23.09 by reelz