Lions Gate Gets World Rights To Sundance Midnight Film “Saw”
by Wendy Mitchell
Sundance doesn’t start until Thursday, but Sundance dealmaking has already begun. Lions Gate Films has acquired the worldwide distribution rights from Evolution Management for James Wan’s horror film “Saw,” which will screen in Park City’s Midnight section. The company plans a 2004 release.
The film is about a serial killer whose latest potential victims — Cary Elwes and Leigh Whannell — find they are chained to a wall and have no idea how they got there. The film also stars Danny Glover and Monica Potter.
“I am a huge fan of the locked-in-a-room thriller, and ‘Saw’ delivers and more,” said Lions Gate’s Peter Block. “James Wan has crafted a cool and unique concept and Evolution Management has a keen eye for the kind of new talent with whom we are thrilled to be working. We are excited to debut this terrific film in the Sundance ‘Park City at Midnight’ section, continuing to build our leadership in the horror/thriller genre.”
Peter Block, president of Lions Gate Home Entertainment, and Jason Constantine, VP of acquisitions, and Wendy Jaffe, VP of business and legal affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of Lions Gate, with Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Gregg Hoffman negotiating for Evolution Management. Nick Meyer and Sergei Yershov, co-presidents of Lions Gate Films International, will be handling foreign sales.
Lions Gate had good luck with horror flicks in 2003 — Eli Roth’s “Cabin Fever,” which the company acquired in Toronto 2002, was its highest grosser at the box office, pulling in more than $20 million. Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” nabbed more than $12 million. Lions Gate also has rights to another Sundance midnight horror film, “Haute Tension,” which it acquired during the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival.