Lionsgate, the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, and Twisted Pictures today announced plans to develop and produce Saw III, the next film in the psychologically intense and disturbing horror franchise, for an October 27, 2006 wide release. The film will be directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II), with story by Leigh Whannell and James Wan (Saw, Saw II) and screenplay by Whannell. The Twisted Pictures team of Mark Burg and Oren Koules will return as producers with Whannell and Wan set to executive produce. The announcement was made by Peter Block, Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Co-productions, Jason Constantine, Lionsgate Senior VP of Acquisitions, and the Twisted Pictures team of Mark Burg and Oren Koules.

Saw II set a Lionsgate record with a three-day opening weekend of $31.7 million last Halloween, becoming the widest release in Lionsgate history and achieving one of the best opening weekends ever for a horror sequel. With a domestic box office of over $87 million and more than $148 million in worldwide theatrical box office, Saw II easily eclipsed the $55 million domestic box office total of the original Saw. Saw and Saw II have grossed nearly $250 million in combined worldwide box office.

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Saw II debuted as the #1 DVD in North America two weeks ago, becoming the fastest-selling theatrical DVD release in Lionsgate history with 3.9 million units sold in its first week alone. The movie was also released on VHS and UMD. The Saw franchise has sold nearly 10 million units to date for Lionsgate.

"Yes, there will be more blood," said Block and Constantine. Saw III will involve the same creative forces responsible for the tremendous success of Saw II. The Twisted team of Mark and Oren, along with Darren, James and Leigh, have all agreed to be prominently involved in Saw III. We are proud to be partnered with some of the most disturbing creative talents on the planet, and the Saw franchise will ensure that gore becomes every bit as much a Halloween staple as ghosts, goblins and candy corn." Block noted that the film will be dedicated to Twisted Pictures principal and Saw producer Gregg Hoffman, who passed away in November 2005.

"We have been discussing story lines that extend the Saw franchise to new limits and beyond with Lionsgate for the past several months," said Burg and Koules. "The most important element of any franchise is remaining true to the roots of its success. We believe that we are developing a script that is certain to please the Saw franchise's core fans while adding fresh, terrifying and unimaginable new twists to the Saw saga. Jigsaw himself would be proud."

Saw III joins an upcoming Lionsgate slate that includes Trent Cooper's Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector (March 24), the inspirational Akeelah And The Bee, starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and Keke Palmer (April 28), the provocative Sundance sensation Hard Candy (April), Lionsgate's first entry in the Spanish-language feature film marketplace, La Mujer de mi Hermano, starring telenovela sensation Barbara Mori (April) and the horror film See No Evil, starring WWE superstar Kane (May 19).