It’s Halloween, and you know what that means! Big rusty traps that split your jaw, crawling naked through broken glass and, of course, the fun of cutting off your own foot. You know. The classics. For the seventh year running a Saw movie has been submitted by Lionsgate for your approval. Through the magic of 3D, the franchise that gave us last year’s anemic Saw VI had a chance to redeem itself. And it kind of delivered.
|2||Paranormal Activity 2||$16,500,000||$65.7|
|7||The Social Network||$4,700,000||$79.7|
|8||Life as We Know It||$4,200,000||$43.7|
Halloween weekend and the Saw franchise – they go together like bear traps and faces. Beginning in 2004, the horror series has added one release per year – always delivering big profits on tiny budgets on the last weekend in October. And then there was Saw VI. Last year, as I may have mentioned, Jigsaw got played by a newcomer called Paranormal Activity. The sequel debuted with a disappointing $14.1 million and the franchise’s monopoly over Halloween seemed to be nearing an end. Until someone from the Saw team took a good look at what had been accomplished with The Final Destination.
The aging franchise had turned its fortunes around earlier in the year by adding one little dimension to the screen. That meant that no matter how low the Saw VI numbers turned out to be, a Saw VII was already in the works… as long as it was made for 3D screens. So here we are. It actually looks like it’s a mixed bag for the Jigsaw team this year. Are they number one? Yes. With $24.2 million from 2,808 locations they are well ahead of the now second-place Paranormal Activity 2 which fell off by a larger than expected 60% after last week’s big debut. But did 3D make it rain in terms of debut numbers? No. No it did not.
This weekend’s total certainly beats Saw VI’s 2009 opening (but hell, the debut of Life As We Know It also beat Saw VI’s opening weekend). I haven’t been a fan of the franchise for many years now but I will never deny its amazing ability to make money. The original Saw was made for less than $2 million and earned a staggering $103 million worldwide. That is why Guinness has Saw listed as the “World’s Most Successful Horror Series.”
Even Saw VI made money for Lionsgate, turning an $11 million budget into $67 million in global grosses. And even with the added cost of that third dimension, the Saw 3D budget came in at a thrifty $17 million. It will turn a nice profit in the end so it would be foolish to say that Saw 3D is a disappointment just because it failed to regain the $30 million debut weekends that marked Saw II-V. This is supposedly the “Final Cut” for the franchise. But how many times can you fall for that one?
If we all knew what kind of trick we would get with the Halloween release of yet another Saw movie, next weekend may provide a few bonafide treats. Todd Phillip’s latest comedy Due Date hits 3,200 locations and Tyler Perry is also back with For Colored Girls – and it’s always a mistake to count him out. Finally there’s the Paramount/Dreamworks animated Megamind in over 3,500 locations. The film features the voices of Will Ferrell and Tina Fey and has the best chance of scoring with both adults and PG audiences alike.