Saw 3D Is The Final Cut

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After seven movies, more than $730 million in worldwide box office and 30 million DVDs sold, the grisly horror franchise Saw is hanging it up after the final film, Saw 3D, out Oct. 29.

Producers and star Tobin Bell will make the announcement Friday at Comic-Con during the film’s footage presentation. “It’s time to stop,” says Oren Koules, a producer on all the Saw movies. “We have told the story we wanted to tell, and this is going to be a great farewell.”

That’s probably code for “gruesome.” The franchise, about a booby-trap-building psycho, became the titan of horror films with its intricate, deadly devices: a dirty needle pit; a razor box that peels skin like onions; a reverse bear trap that rips open the jaw.

But that’s child’s play compared with the final film, which was shot in 3D and will feature 11 booby traps, nearly double the average for previous films. The film was re-edited and submitted six times to the Motion Picture Association of America to bring it from an NC-17 to an R rating.

“I’m surprised we got it,” says producer Mark Burg. “It’s more violent than any of them. But it’s in 3D, it answers all the questions, it comes full circle. We have the goods on this one.”

He couldn’t say the same thing about the franchise’s sixth installment, which earned $28 million last year, roughly half the take of its most recent predecessors. Burg concedes the film “didn’t do what we expected it to.”

Still, the series has had a remarkable run. Born from director James Wan’s seven-minute video pitch to Lionsgate Films, the original 2004 movie was shot in 17 days for $1 million. It went on to earn $55 million and spawned a sequel around every Halloween for six consecutive years.

“You can count on one hand the franchises that lasted seven years — and every year, no less,” says Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s president of acquisitions and co-productions. “It became part of pop-culture discourse.”

Not all of it flattering. Critics pummeled the series: Every film earned positive reviews from less than half the nation’s critics, according to And family groups accused the franchise of giving rise to “torture porn” films that relish punishing their victims, especially women.

“It’s a free country,” says Bell, who plays Jigsaw. “If people don’t want to look at certain things, they shouldn’t go. The people who don’t go to films were more upset than the horror fans.”

Those fans, Bell says, are the only ones who matter. “You can say what you want about it, but Saw fans have loved and supported it every year. We must have been doing something right.”


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