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The American love of gory horror flicks has found a home in the Saw franchise. The first film did pretty well for itself on Halloween two years ago, making $18.3 its opening weekend. The second entry to the franchise topped that, taking in $31.7 million this time last year. Now, in a rarely seen outpouring of fan lust, the third in a franchise has trumped both its predecessors. Saw III hacked in a whopping $34.3 million, sealing what will likely become a perennial gorefest to last many Halloweens to come. Saw IV is already in the works and no doubt someone over at Lionsgate is working up the papers to green light a fifth.
To further rub in the level of its success, Saw III was reportedly made on the miniscule budget of $10 million, giving it a 340% return on the investment in just its first 3 days in theaters. The cash flow from the Saw films alone has pretty much bankrolled Lionsgate films, catapulting it to the grown-ups table among film studios.
As you might have noticed, Saw III was the only new release this weekend to even make the top ten, although the expanded release of Running With Scissors barely squeezed it into the number ten spot, beating out The Guardian by a mere $110,000. Tim Robbins' newest film Catch A Fire opened in 1305 theaters, a release usually earning most films a top ten spot. Alas, it barely scraped together $2 million, ending in twelfth.
Nobody seems interest in Death of a President, the fictional piece about the future assassination of President George Bush. It only mustered $1,835 per screen, a sad sum for a small release. Babel, on the other hand, with its impressive cast of Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal, brought in $52,285 per screen in only 7 theaters.
Next weekend Fox will test the waters by dipping its much debated Borat into 800 screens. That's enough to earn it a place in the top ten if enough people want to bother. Animated Flushed Away looks poised to take the number one spot with raging marketing and a 3,250 screen release. Its only real competition will be the ill timed The Santa Clause 3 which for some reason is being released before Thanksgiving.