Focus Features, eOne, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Blumhouse Productions has set original Saw and Insidious writer Leigh Whannell to direct Insidious: Chapter 3. The fright franchise originated at FilmDistrict and was absorbed by Focus when Peter Schlessel took the reins. Whannell, who wrote and acted in the first two Insidious pics, will be making his directorial debut on Chapter 3. Pic will come out April 3, 2015.
Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2 screenwriter Leigh Whannell will return to pen a third installment of the hit horror franchise for Blumhouse Productions, Entertainment One, FilmDistrict, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. Conspicuously absent from today’s threequel announcement is Whannell’s longtime collaborator James Wan, who helmed both Insidious pics including last weekend’s record-breaking $41M opener sequel. Wan just began filming on Universal’s Fast & Furious 7, graduating to the big budgeted blockbuster after directing genre fare including the original Saw, Death Sentence, the microbudgeted Insidious franchise, and this year’s #1 horror opener The Conjuring. Jason Blum will produce the third Insidious pic for Blumhouse Productions with Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity). Steven Schneider, Brian Kavanaugh Jones, Peter Schlessel, Lia Buman and Xavier Marchand are executive producing. Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, and Barbara Hershey reprised their roles in Insidious: Chapter 2 which continued the saga of the haunted Lambert family and left the door open for further supernatural sequels. Whannell is repped by Paradigm.
A sequel to the horror hit Insidious is in the works, with Leigh Whannell returning to write the script and James Wan in talks to once again direct. Jason Blum will produce through Blumhouse Productions and Brian Kavanaugh Jones, Oren Peli and Steven Schneider will be exec producers. Alliance Films is back as financier, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Peter Schlessel’s FilmDistrict acquired U.S. rights. FilmDistrict will distribute the film in the U.S.
The sequel news is hardly a shock, it is simply what happens when a $1.5 million budget horror film scares up nearly $100 million in worldwide grosses to become one of the most profitable films in recent memory. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne starred in the first installment, as parents of a demonically possessed kid. SPWA bought it at 2010 Toronto and FilmDistrict released it. Alliance will distribute the sequel in Canada, the UK (via its Momentum Pictures subsidiary) and Spain (via Aurum). SPWA has the rest of the world. Production begins this year and will be released in 2013. Wan and Whannel hatched the Saw franchise.
“Insidious was the most fun project I’ve ever worked on,” Whannell said in a statement. “From start to finish it was an absolute joy—from the writing of the screenplay, all the way to the first screening of the film at the Toronto film festival. I believe that James Wan and I …
EXCLUSIVE: Evolution Entertainment partners Mark Burg and Oren Koules are splitting after 12 years. Burg has purchased the 50% of the management/production company owned by Koules. Burg has reconstituted the company and named former CAA agent-turned-producer Michael Menchel its new president.
This brings to an end a partnership that achieved the dream of every boutique management/production company. When these guys got through Evolution’s Gregg Hoffman the script for Saw from Leigh Whannell and James Wan, they put themselves at risk personally to come up with the money to buy it and to cover the $1.2 million budget themselves. They made a licensing deal with Lionsgate but were left owning a film that grossed $103 million worldwide. They continued in that fashion on six sequels, most of which were low budget, with the last costing around $20 million. The cumulative worldwide gross of the series reached $870 million, and Burg and Koules made a fortune. Some of it they parlayed into other fright films under their Twisted Pictures banner, with many of the films directed and populated by clients of the management company. Their client stable includes Charlie Sheen.
FilmDistrict finalized a distribution deal for Insidious, the horror film by original Saw writer/director James Wan and Leigh Whannell, and produced by Paranormal Activity architects Oren Peli, Jason Blum and Steven Schneider. The deal was long-rumored. FilmDistrict was started by Bob Berney and Peter Schlessel started with funding from Graham King and Tim Headington to generate product that can play on 1500 to upwards of 2500 screens. Insidious will come in at 2500 screens in its April 1 release. Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson and Whannell star in a thriller about a family that moves into a house they discover is haunted. After their son lapses into a coma, they try to escape and save him. After they move, they discover spirits too can pack their bags and move out. The picture, financed by Alliance and sold offshore by IM Global, made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. “With Insidious, James and Leigh are redefining the haunted house genre,” Schlessel said in a statement. “By taking well-known horror movie conventions and elevating them to the next level, they’ve created a film that is fun, suspenseful and very very scary.” Brian Kavanaugh-Jones is exec producer. Here’s a scene from the movie:
EXCLUSIVE FROM TORONTO: The Toronto deal logjam seems to be breaking. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group is closing a deal for North American distribution rights to Insidious, the James Wan-directed thriller that premiered in the Midnight Madness program Tuesday. Leigh Whannell wrote the script. I’m told it is a 7-figure deal that is still being finalized after a marathon bargaining session following the screening. The film is a modern take on the haunted house chiller genre. It’s guaranteed a theatrical release, with a level to be determined. Wan and Whannell created the Saw franchise, with Wan directing and Whannell scripting the first pic in that series. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne play a married couple with three kids. When tragedy strikes the youngest, begin to experience things science can’t explain. Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye also star. Pic’s produced by Jason Blum, Steven Schneider and Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli Stuart Ford’s IM Global has foreign on the picture and has sold out the world. CAA and Paradigm repped it.