The Saw franchise was a cinematic tradition for seven straight years during Halloween, with the low-budget torture porn series constantly looping back on itself and inventing new creative ways to kill people. Now, after seven years away, it has returned to reclaim the top spot at the box office with Jigsaw. That said, it's not exactly a triumphant return for the horror brand. Check out the full top 10 below!
From a box office perspective, the Saw movies topped out fairly early, with Saw II and Saw III continuing to hold the domestic and international crowns for the franchise, respectively. However, because the movies were able to be made with very little money, Lionsgate kept pumping them out for years... at least until both Saw VI and Saw 3D a.k.a. Saw: The Final Chapter both suggested that new sequels may not be worth the effort. Jigsaw, directed by the Spierig brothers, Michael and Peter, was surely made by the studio in hopes of reigniting a public hunger for inventive murder. They probably aren't surprised that the new movie grasped the number one spot, but were surely hoping for much more as far as the opening weekend numbers go.
After the first Saw became a solid hit in 2004, the four sequels that followed each managed to make over $30 million in their first three days. Jigsaw's take is about half of that. In fact, the eighth chapter's opening weekend numbers are the second lowest that the franchise has ever seen, behind the $18.3 million that James Wan's original creation took in, and ahead of Saw VI's dismal $14.1 back in 2009 (facing new, serious competition from the burgeoning Paranormal Activity features, its time was at an end).
Given Jigsaw's $10 million budget, the film will probably still wind up being profitable - and it's worth noting that the box office performance was definitely more successful than the other two wide releases this week. As many of you will remember, Clint Eastwood's American Sniper wound up being a crazy hit when it hit theaters everywhere in early 2015 - but things didn't turn out as well for the directorial debut of Jason Hall, American Sniper's screenwriter. Despite getting positive reviews and an "A-" CinemaScore, Thank You For Your Service hasn't really generated a ton of buzz, and managed to make only $1,802 per theater for a $3.7 million take. It's a shame given the important message the film has about taking care of veterans and the seriousness of PTSD, but perhaps it would have been better to follow the example of the Eastwood movie and come out in the winter instead of the fall.
Suffering far worse is George Clooney's Suburbicon, which is a shame (it was based on a script by the Coen brothers, after all). The film has had a rough go of it in the last couple of weeks following debuts in Venice and Toronto, and kind of crashed and burned on the runway this weekend as it was about to take off. Clearly opening in ninth place with a total of $2.8 million was not the plan... but the details all make it so much worse. Clooney may be a respected guy in Hollywood (Good Night, And Good Luck has earned him many years of clout as a director), but Suburbicon got eviscerated by critics - receiving a lower Rotten Tomatoes score than Jigsaw - and it's the owner of a harsh "D-" grade on CinemaScore. There's a lot of talented people involved with this one, including Clooney, Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac, but it's kind of a disaster.
Clearly this was not the greatest week for Hollywood, but the arrival of November this week should make a major upswing in movie ticket sales. That's because Friday will see the long-anticipated release of Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, which currently stands as one of Marvel's best reviewed titles, and is easily one of the best comedies of the year. We'll be back next week to cover how it all goes down, so stay tuned!