Saw was created by two young men from Melbourne, Australia, Leigh Whannell and
James Wan (pictured below). Leigh also starred in the first film.
Wan & Whannel were friends from the Melbourne film school friends, flat broke in 2002, but managed to scare up $5000 to shoot a single disturbing scene from their Saw script that involved a woman's head being crushed in a bear trap.
After sending DVDs of this scene Hollywood studios, Evolution Entertainment snapped up the rights, giving them a percentage of profits, instead of an upfront payment. Now they are millionaires! They also manage to establish careers beyond screenwriting, with Whannel acting in Saw & Wan directing the film. The budget was an amazingly low $US1.2 million. It opened at #1 in the USA and went on to make $US103 million at the worldwide box office.
Darren Bousman took over directing duties. Donnie Wahlberg (old brother of Mark, star of NKOTB) received a Teen Choice award nomination for Best Movie Scream in Saw II - while his brother was Oscar nominated for The Departed.
The original movie had built a massive following on DVD and this helped Saw II, with a small budget of $4 million, earn $87 million in the USA when it was released in October 2005, and over $150 million worldwide.
Usually by the time a second sequel comes around, people are a little tired of the frachise, but Saw III actually made a little more than Saw II worldwide (albeit with a little less in the USA). It did however have a much bigger budget of $10 million, although this is still tiny by Hollywood standards!
These will be directed by David Hackl who was the production designer for SAWs 2, 3 & 4. Release date for Saw V will be Halloween 2009