SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- For the third year in a row, blood reigned supreme as SAW III, the highest-grossing theatrical horror film of 2006, followed in the footsteps of its predecessors by slicing through the competition to finish at number one among this week's new home entertainment releases. Debuting on DVD and Blu-ray disc, the psychological thriller from Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF) , the premier independent filmed entertainment studio, and Twisted Pictures sold 1.6 million units its first day and finished the week in the top spot with 2.5 million units sold. Also, according to Rentrak Home Essentials, SAW III Blu-Ray disc is the largest and most successful Blu-Ray debut to date. Released theatrically by Lionsgate in October 2006, SAW III "gross"ed over $80 million domestically and more than $100 million in worldwide theatrical box office.
The success of SAW III highlights a dominant week for Lionsgate on the national DVD charts, scoring four of the top seven titles (SAW III #1, Lionsgate and Marvel's INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #3, EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH #5 and former chart-topper CRANK #7) and six of the top 20 (catalyzed by the success of SAW III, SAW II re-entered the charts at #15 and SAW reappeared at #16). Continuing an impressive start of the year for Lionsgate, SAW III is the second number one DVD release for Lionsgate this month, following in the footsteps of CRANK, which reigned supreme on the DVD charts following its January 9 release. CRANK earned $30 million in domestic box office, sold 2 million units in its first week and appears positioned to significantly overindex its theatrical box office performance on DVD, reflecting another example of Lionsgate's typically high theatrical box office-to-DVD conversion rate.
The performance of SAW III continues the overwhelming dominance of the SAW franchise. One of the most successful global horror franchises in history, the first three SAW releases have earned more than $400 million in worldwide box office receipts. Additionally, SAW and SAW II have sold more than 10 million DVDs combined to date. In fact, the first SAW release continues to rack up sales, ranking among the top 10 on VideoScan's top horror sellers as recently as January 7 of this year. SAW II was also in the news this week as the title made its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray disc.
"Jigsaw is one of the more unique madmen in horror movie history and his life-and-death games continue to fascinate horror fans, assuring that the Saw franchise will have legs for a very long time," said Ron Schwartz, Lionsgate Home Entertainment General Manager and Executive Vice President. "While the success at the box office gives SAW III momentum for its DVD release, we also ensure that it will stand out at retail with unique packaging and an extensive marketing and promotional campaign. That same strategy carries over into our Blu-ray campaigns, with SAW III being our third number one title this month. We are seeing huge growth within the category as consumers are able to experience what Blu-ray has to offer with titles that enhance and display the format's capabilities."
Mark Burg and Oren Koules of Twisted Pictures commented, "We are delighted to see Jigsaw once again wreaking havoc in home entertainment, and applaud the Lionsgate team for their characteristically inspired work on SAW III. Their efforts have been invaluable in making the entire Saw franchise a smashing and continuing success, and we think the future looks bright -- if necessarily rather bloody."
SAW III SYNOPSIS/EXTRA FEATURES
Jigsaw has disappeared. With his new apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith), the puppet-master behind the cruel, intricate games that have terrified a community and baffled police, has once again eluded capture and vanished. While city detectives scramble to locate him, Doctor Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) and Jeff (Angus Macfadyen) are unaware that they are about to become the latest pawns on his vicious chessboard.
The unrated SAW III DVD features an additional five minutes of film footage, along with multiple commentaries, deleted scenes and featurettes. The SAW III Blu-ray disc will include all of the special features on the already loaded unrated DVD plus even more featurettes.
ABOUT TWISTED PICTURES
Twisted Pictures is helmed by Mark Burg and Oren Koules, and is the horror/thriller division of their company Evolution Entertainment. SAW, one of the most profitable films of 2004, was the first picture released under the Twisted banner. The film was distributed by Lionsgate, which entered into a nine-picture distribution deal with Twisted Pictures in November 2004. In 2005, Twisted Pictures produced SAW II, which opened at #1 on Halloween weekend and became the year's highest-grossing horror film. Halloween 2006 saw the release of SAW III, which opened at #1 in North America, the U.K. and Australia. Twisted Pictures' slate includes the upcoming DEAD SILENCE by SAW creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell; CATACOMBS, currently in post production; and SAW IV.
Lionsgate is the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, winning this year's Best Picture Academy Award(R) for CRASH, generating two consecutive years of $300 million-plus domestic theatrical box office, operating a $500 million-plus home entertainment business and producing a broad slate of prime time television series for fiscal 2007. It is a premier producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library of more than 10,000 titles is a valuable source of stable, recurring revenue and a foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
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