Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whaa? Lionsgate steals Kevin Greutert back for Saw VII.

PREVIOUSLY... on Saw Vs. Paranormal Activity:
Last week, I reported that Paramount had hired Kevin Gruetert, helmer of Saw VI, to direct Paranormal Activity 2. I remarked at the oddity of the situation, as Paranormal Activity has crushed Saw VI (available today on DVD and Blu Ray) at the box office and Lionsgate had instead brought back David Hackl for Saw VII, despite Hackl's Saw V being one of the worst films in the Saw franchise. So Gruetert, who had directed perhaps the best Saw film yet, was snapped up by Paramount to helm the sequel to their new competing horror franchise. Well last night, things got a whole lot weirder.

TODAY... on Saw Vs. Paranormal Activity:
It seems Lionsgate had a contract clause with Gruetert, basically allowing them the option of forcing him to direct another Saw entry if they so chose. Perhaps because they realized that Saw V was terrible, or perhaps because they wanted to get into a pissing match with Paramount, Lionsgate has forced Gruetert to honor his contract and direct Saw VII (in 3D) after all. This leaves Paranormal Activity 2 without a director and less than nine months to get the film into theaters. This also leaves Kevin Gruetert in the position of perhaps making a seventh Saw film that he didn't want to direct in the first place. As for poor, unloved David Hackl, he'll he put on a future Lionsgate project, although I'm not sure what considering how few horror movies Lionsgate makes anymore.

Oddly enough, this isn't the first time a Saw film was more or less directed at knife-point. Darren Lynn Bousman was brought back for Saw IV, somewhat unwillingly and partially in exchange for the chance to make Repo: A Genetic Opera. If you watch the supplemental materials on Saw IV, it's obvious that he's not happy to be there and we all know how Saw IV turned out (worst movie of the entire franchise, natch). I'm thrilled that Greutert is back in the director's chair, but I'd certainly be happier for him if it was purely his choice and not studio politics. I'm curious as to how Paramount will respond to this. In terms of high profile 'gets', I'm sure Wes Craven will be available. Perhaps they'll hire Tyler Perry for Paranormal Activity 2. In which case, the film will have a terrific cast, a Madea cameo, several inspirational tunes, and a ghost that struggles with the fact that her mother allowed her to be sexually molested by said mother's boyfriend.

Scott Mendelson

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