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.
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.