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Lionsgate has got a real cash cow on its hands. No, I'm not talking about Tyler Perry, though he's earned the studio a pretty penny with his movies in recent years. I mean the Saw films. For no apparent reason other than the fact that they roll out at Halloween, the movies have become a staggering financial success. Despite growing arguably worse with each passing movie, they continue to rake in the money, severed hand over bloody fist. With Saw IV coming out right on cue next weekend, the question isn't how bad it's going to be, but how much money it's going to rake in anyway.

While the first movie was somewhat clever and original (a quality I value in any movie), many would argue that the Saw films started going downhill fast when the second movie rolled out (CB's Rafe Telsch disagrees, but I think he has a thing for Dina Meyer). Some say the third movie was where things turned sour, but people still turned out in droves to see it. At this point pretty much everyone (even horror fans) seem to have the lowest of expectations for Saw IV, but if history is any indication, the promise of a lousy movie isn't likely to keep audiences away.

Of course no one expects these movies to be works of art. They're horror movies. You don't go see them for the witty dialogue or brilliant acting. You to see them to watch people doing stupid, scary things in the hopes that you will be scared yourself. Still, at some point the stupid outweighs the scary and the franchise becomes a complete waste of time. It happened to all the greats: Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th and so on. Somewhere along the way the franchise goes from the good kind of bad to the bad kind of bad. And yet, even if you walked out of Saw II swearing you'd never spend another dime on those crappy Saw sequels, people can't seem to help themselves ( you're in good company, though, with CB's Mack Rawden).

Each movie has made more cash than the one before it. And since they're made on shoestring budgets they turn wild profits, almost guaranteeing that we'll be seeing Jigsaw in theaters for many Halloweens to come. Though the movies get progressively worse, more and more people go to see them. And it's not just in the U.S. It's a phenomenon that spans the globe. There's no denying it. The numbers don't lie. I've laid them out for you below. Behold them, one of the greatest mysteries of our time.

October, 2004

$1.2 million

World-wide Box Office:
$103 million
Cinema Blend Review:

"Saw is not for everyone. It can be gruesome and brutal, if that’s your thing, but that makes up a very small part of what it otherwise an interesting psychological thriller. It’s not perfect; with a little less hamming from some of the leads and a little script tweaking it could have been an excellent movie."

Cinema Blend DVD Review:

"Saw was made on a micro budget, raked in millions at the box office, and is doing the same in DVD sales. The movie’s success can partly be credited to a rise in horror movie popularity as well as a clever publicity campaign. The enigmatic and ubiquitous posters for this movie made many people take notice, including me. Does Saw deserve all the attention it’s getting?"