Update: Although there's been no announcement from any of the studios involved, Kevin Greutert has commented on the situation on his site - "I'm in the middle of something really terrible right now, as anyone who has come to this site probably knows. While I fight for justice in this, the important thing is to avoid giving in to hatred and anger, because these emotions are life killers... Hopefully we will all arrive at an amicable solution. Thank you to everyone who is working with me on this."
Sounds like he would rather work on Paranormal Activity 2 than another Saw sequel...
Last week we reported on the news that Saw VI director, Kevin Greutert, had switched horror franchises and was brought on board to direct Paranormal Activity 2, the sequel to Oren Peli's creepy and ultra-successful low budget horror flick from last year. It seemed like an odd pairing since Saw VI (Greutert's directorial debut) was gory-as-hell in trademark Saw style and Paranormal Activity was more about using atmosphere to creep the audience out (although a lot of you apparently weren't affected by it).
However, just a week after that news comes an update from Deadline Hollywood which says that Greutert is no longer directing Paranormal Activity 2 but has jumped back over to the Saw franchise to direct Saw VII in 3D.
This is the first major punch to be thrown by either Paramount or Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate in the battle for Halloween 2010 at the movies: both PA 2 and Saw VII are set for a release on the same day, October 22nd, and since the first PA beat out the last Saw installment when they went head-to-head last year, I'm assuming there was some brainstorming going on at Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate about how they could take down the ghost story sequel. Evidently they came up with the idea of stealing back the director...
Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate have reportedly exercised an option that puts Greutert back in the Saw director's chair for the seventh installment just a couple of weeks before it's set to begin shooting. That doesn't give much time for prep work, and David Hackl, who directed Saw V and was set to helm Saw VII, has been taken off the project and will be quickly assigned another film. This move leaves Paranormal Activity 2 without a director for the time being, although I don't imagine Paramount will waste much time since its October 22nd release date still stands.
Well, it appears that the battle is well and truly on between two potentially successful properties for the Halloween horror film season this year. It'll be interesting to see what Paramount does to hit back - maybe the studio will steal the director who made successes out of the second, third and fourth Saw movies, Darren Lynn Bousman? :P
No matter what, I still don't think the director is what will make either Paranormal Activity 2 or Saw VII successful. Saw VI made less than half what the fifth one did worldwide, so is that a sign people are sick of the franchise? Or was it just a fluke and Saw VII (with the help of an extra dimension) will bring it back to the level of success the franchise has seen for years now? And will a sequel to Paranormal Activity really be able to replicate the success of the first? Somehow I don't think so, simply because it was all about the mysterious nature of the first (whether it was real footage or not, a la The Blair Witch Project) and audiences hadn't really seen anything like it for a long time - and were definitely divided about the end result.
I'll definitely be keeping an eye on both these projects to see how successful they are, and how this little horror movie battle plays out.
Both Saw VII and Paranormal Activity 2 are slated for an October 22nd, 2010 release.