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‘Spiral’ Pushes ‘Saw’ Series to $1 Billion in Lifetime Grosses

Gory horror saga hits milestone 17 years after its launch

The revival of the “Saw” franchise with “Spiral” has allowed the gory horror series to hit a major milestone: $1 billion in lifetime grosses.

The milestone was hit this weekend when “Spiral” added $4.5 million in its second weekend in U.S. theaters, along with $2.6 million from overseas markets. Starring Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella, “Spiral” is the ninth film in the “Saw” series and has a global total so far of $22.5 million.

“We congratulate our friends at Twisted Pictures and all of the filmmakers and stars who have been a part of the Saw legacy,” David Spitz, Lionsgate’s President of domestic theatrical distribution, said. “Over the years, our partners have been innovative, creative, and open to new ideas as they have nurtured a microbudget  film into a billion-dollar-plus-grossing cultural phenomenon.”

“Saw” began its life as 2003 short film by series creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell that served as a proof-of-concept pitch to Lionsgate for a feature film. The feature was greenlit with Cary Elwes and Whannell starring as the latest victims of Jigsaw, a serial killer who traps those unappreciative of life in gory “games” that often require them to mutilate their bodies to avoid a gruesome fate.

“Saw” grossed $103 million worldwide and prompted Lionsgate to release a new installment of the series every year until 2010, when the series ended with “Saw 3D.” An eighth film, “Jigsaw,” was released in 2017, with “Spiral” getting greenlit after Chris Rock pitched a spinoff concept with a new Jigsaw to Lionsgate executives.

Wan and Whannell, meanwhile, have used “Saw” as a launch point to successful filmmaking careers, with the two men also creating the hit horror series “Insidious.” Separately, Wan found even greater box office success with the 2018 DC film “Aquaman,” which grossed $1.14 billion worldwide, while Whannell received critical acclaim for his remake of the horror classic “The Invisible Man.”