Horror helmer reaps rewards with 2-pic deal

Dimension Films has set a two-picture deal with “Saw II” director Darren Lynn Bousman that will include his next film. Both movies will be produced by Twisted Pictures principals Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Gregg Hoffman, who produced and financed the “Saw” films.

Dimension topper Bob Weinstein and production head Richard Saperstein will work with the producers to find a genre vehicle for Bousman; they hope to have him back behind the cameras by spring.

A graduate of the film program at Fullsail in Florida, Bousman began as an editor at the Firm, got his break directing a video for Static X, then wrote the script “The Desperate,” hoping to get noticed.

He found himself teamed with “Saw” co-writer and star Leigh Whannell, using ideas from his script for the sequel, which Bousman was invited to direct. Pic grossed $36 million in its first four days. “Saw II” has outpaced the original’s international opening grosses in the U.K. and Japan.

“This is the most surreal thing, to have a hit movie and be courted by the Weinsteins,” Bousman said. “I wrote ‘The Desperate’ because I was feeling that way, and thought that the darkest, most violent movie I could write might get me noticed. It sparked the seed that became ‘Saw II.’ “

Bousman’s break was fueled by Twisted Pictures, the genre production unit of Evolution Entertainment that has had a lucrative run with the “Saw” films. Burg and Koules financed the original for $1.2 million then watched it gross $102 million worldwide. They and Hoffman financed the $4 million sequel, which is on pace to outgross the first film. Twisted owns both titles.

Burg said they looked outside their financing structure for Evolution client Bousman because they felt he graduated beyond their $10 million financing limit.

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