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Twisted turns to Lions Gate

'Saw' shingle pacts for 9 pix

With “Saw” producers Twisted Pictures expecting to see more than $50 million in profit participation, the shingle has made a nine-picture deal with Lions Gate Films.

Twisted, which is headed by Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Gregg Hoffman, is the genre label of Evolution Entertainment. Twisted will finance and produce the horror/thriller pics, with Lions Gate handling distribution.

Twisted wholly financed the $1.2 million “Saw,” which served as the feature bows for director James Wan and writer-thesp Leigh Whannell.

Lions Gate picked up worldwide rights to the title just prior to its bow at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. However, the deal was a straightforward distribution arrangement, with Lions Gate taking a 20% fee and the remainder going to Twisted. The new nine-picture deal shares a similar structure.

“Saw” has already grossed about $50 million worldwide since the film was released 13 days ago. A number of foreign territories have yet to bow.

“You have to pinch yourself and ask, ‘Did this really happen? ‘” said Burg, who said that “Saw” was “by far” the biggest windfall of his career.

“Before now, the only movie I’ve made that sends me a check every year is the first one, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love,’ he said. ” ‘Bull Durham’ is still a loser, according to studio accounting.”

For the Lions Gate deal, Twisted is seeking writers, directors or writer-directors with completed scripts. The shingle is also open to working with outside producers.

“The people who play ball with us will make far more than if they just took a fee,” Burg said.

Koules, Burg and Hoffman will produce the films. Peter Schlessel and Steve Monas, who made the deal on the behalf of Twisted, will serve as executive producers. 

Separately, Lions Gate is financing a “Saw” sequel that the company is producing with Twisted.

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