One of the longest running cinematic seasonal events supposedly came to a close this weekend as Saw 3D, the seventh in the lucrative Saw franchise, debuted.
I like to think of the Saw movies as more of an annual fundraiser for Lionsgate than a successful movie series. Each year at Halloween Lionsgate, a studio known for cranking out more bombs than blockbusters, hands out a few million dollars in budget money and in turn audiences hand back several tens of millions of dollars. This year was no different.
Touted as the "final chapter", Saw 3D, banked a $22 million opening. While it's not the largest opening in the franchise, it is an improvement over last year's Saw VI which bowed in at an unimpressive $14 million. The top spot opening for this seventh installment is somewhat overshadowed by its $20 million budget, a small fortune by Saw standards and the largest for anything in the series. It's likely the 3D addition jacked up the cost, but I'd like to think Cary Elwes managed to negotiate himself a hefty paycheck for his return.
Will this truly be the last Saw film? That's hard to believe. The franchise is practically a stand-alone profit center for Lionsgate and if there's one thing studio executives can't say no too, it's a profit.
The Halloween weekend wasn't much of a boon to last week's horror champion Paranormal Activity 2 which dropped almost 60% to a distant $16 million second place. It was, however, a banner weekend for Jackass 3-D which passed the $100 million mark and is on track to break into the top fifteen biggest selling movies of the year.
Small release Conviction opened to 500+ theaters this weekend, earning enough to break into the number ten spot. Despite being a relatively small budget film, the $2 million it made this weekend is a long shot for recovering its $12 million cost.
For the full weekend top ten update, check out the chart below: