EXCLUSIVE: After Leatherface cut The Hobbit down to size last weekend to become the country’s top-grossing film, he’s headed back to the slaughterhouse for another helping of Texas Chainsaw Massacre mayhem. Millennium Films is moving ahead with Texas Chainsaw 4, with production to begin later this year in Louisiana.
The next installment will be spearheaded by producer Carl Mazzocone, exec producers Mark Burg, Avi Lerner, Tobe Hooper, Trevor Short, John Thompson, Danny Dimbort, Lati Grobman and Christa Campbell.
All this comes after Texas Chainsaw 3D scared up a surprisingly high $21.7 million gross on 2,654 screens. According to a story my former Variety colleague Ted Johnson just reported, it also comes as Vice President Joe Biden sets meetings for later this week with Hollywood movie and video game makers to cut down on the levels of violence. Even though it would pass muster on gun play, I’m not sure Texas Chainsaw 3D puts Millennium on the Biden itinerary; the ad campaign for Texas Chainsaw 3D was buoyed by an ad campaign that was short on dialogue and long on splatter. Audiences certainly responded as the film turned in a per screen average of $8,193 on 2,654 screens.
“Lati and Christa brought the idea of this franchise to us. They were certain of the audience appeal, so we signed on,” Millennium Films Chairman Avi Lerner said. “And it turns out they were right. It was a bloody good decision. Lionsgate agreed to distribute the film in the US, and did a fantastic job. We very much hope to partner with them for the next chapter.”
The latest installment was helmed directed by John Luessenhop, with script by Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan and Kirsten Elms, from a story by Stephen Susco, Marcus, Sullivan. It’s based on characters created by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper, whose 1974 original Texas Chain Saw Massacre is still one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. It cost $300,000, grossed over $30 million and the horror was pretty much implied and not shown. That has not been the case in a series of followups that have starred the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger.