Box Office Report: 'Jigsaw' Returns on Top, But It's Only an (Im)Moral Victory

Box Office Report: 'Jigsaw' Returns on Top, But It's Only an (Im)Moral Victory

Oct 30, 2017

JigsawHere's your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Jigsaw - $16.2 million ($16.2 million total)

2. Tyler Perry’s Boo 2!: A Madea Halloween - $10.0 million ($35.5 million total)

3. Geostorm - $5.6 million ($23.5 million total)

4. Happy Death Day - $5.0 million ($48.3 million total)

5. Blade Runner 2049 - $3.9 million ($81.3 million total)

6. Thank You For Your Service - $3.7 million ($3.7 million total)

7. Only the Brave - $3.4 million ($11.9 million total)

8. The Foreigner - $3.2 million ($28.8 million total)

9. Suburbicon - $2.8 million ($2.8 million total)

10. It - $2.4 million ($323.7 million total)

 

The Big Stories

From 2004-2010, the Saw movies were a Halloween tradition. It all began as a breakout midnight film from Sundance directed by a first-timer named James Wan, who has since gone on to direct The Conjuring films, Fast & Furious 7, the upcoming Aquaman and the still underappreciated Death Sentence. From there, the phenomenon took off: Low-budget horror films with frequent success well before the Blumhouse model. (See: Happy Death Day with over $48 millon on just a $4.8 million budget.) The first five films in the Saw series grossed no less than $55 million.

That is, until Blumhouse invaded with a little franchise called Paranormal Activity; a Slamdance sensation that marketed its cheap thrills to $296.7 million over its first three pictures. It took four Saw films to make $285.7. But the Paranormal Activity films are done (for now) and Lionsgate has resurrected John Kramer (so to speak) seven years later for this Halloween. And the results are…uninspiring.

 

Who Saw Jigsaw?

The diminishing returns on the Saw franchise are well documented in their connection to its franchise challenger. The first Paranormal Activity was such a grassroots phenomenon that it kept increasing its marketshare every week until finally taking the number one slot at the box office in 2009 on the very weekend that Saw VI opened. The first Saw film opened to $18.2 million for only a third place finish behind Ray and the second weekend of The Grudge. The next four entries from 2005-08 all opened to over $31.7 million. No one dared opened a horror movie against Saw. Unless you count High School Musical 3, which bested the fifth film with $42 million. But when the first Paranormal Activity film arrived, Saw VI opened to just $14.1 million and could not even double that for its final gross.

Lionsgate knew it was time to put the series to rest, so it offered up one final chapter (in 3-D) in 2010. It opened to $22.5 million and barely doubled that to a final finish of $45.7 million. While the first Saw leveled out to just 49% at Rotten Tomatoes, none of the other films were screened for press in advance and thus never rose about 39%. That final chapter got a mere 9%.

The current reboot, Jigsaw (also not screened for critics) is holding at 39%, a third-best score for the series behind Saw VI. The last four Saw films averaged out to a pretty dreadful 1.96 multiple; that's not promising for Jigsaw, which started out with estimates for $20 million this weekend and then fell back to $16.2 million. If history holds, the film is looking at less than a $35 million return, which on a $10 million budget doesn’t seem terrible, but add in at least another $15-20 million for P&A and it looks like there are better odds for another Madea film than another Saw.

 

Tales of the Top Ten

Speaking of which, Lionsgate indeed got the 1-2 punch at the box office it was expecting with Boo 2 coming in second with a 53% drop to $10 million. Expect an even bigger drop next weekend as the Halloween factor is in the rearview mirror. It appears headed towards our first estimate of between $48-53 million. Last weekend’s #2 in more ways than one, Geostorm, dropped 58%. Even with $52 million overseas so far, it is still about $272 million away from breaking even. Warner Bros. other potential $100 million write-off in Blade Runner 2049 has passed $81 million domestic but is still about $320 million away from getting out of the red. At least they still have It hanging in the Top Ten one last weekend. It has made over $656 million worldwide.

Two other new releases were non-starters in big ways. Universal’s Thank You For Your Service did not get the kind of support America preaches about giving to the troops. Despite a 77% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, the $20 million production grossed just $3.7 million this weekend. Last year’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk grossed a total of just $1.7 million. The other new release of the weekend, though, is more notable in its failure.

Though Suburbicon cost only $25 million, it’s the pedigree of Matt Damon starring in a George Clooney film that on the surface would seem like a modest adult draw. Clooney’s films have actually been increasing in gross. The Monuments Men made over $78 million but because that was nearly a match of its budget, it was a cost failure. Suburbicon has been savaged ever since its festival run the past few months and has a lower percentage than even the unscreened Jigsaw at 26%, though the former only has 36 reviews compared to Suburbicon’s 141.

Those numbers are not nearly as important to Paramount as the $2.8 million it started with. That’s less than mother! In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1995 with Jade to find a comparable film and screen count as bad as Suburbicon and even that made $4.2 million in 2,164 theaters. Suburbicon was released in 2,046, continuing Paramount’s nightmare. A shame they don’t have Thor anymore, considering Ragnarok has started with over $107 million overseas and should rule the domestic box office next weekend as well.


Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[Box office figures via Box Office Mojo.]

Categories: Features, Box office, Horror
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