(Photo by Lionsgate/ courtesy Everett Collection)
Saw came, Saw conquered, Saw…stuck around for a lot longer people were expecting. The franchise that popularized the torturous trend in mid-2000s horror arguably peaked early with critics: The original 2004 movie is half-appreciated for hardening the genre and for its infamous twist ending, and half-detested for its empty obsession with gristle, gore, and guts. But audiences lapped up the visceral thrills, and after the first sequel ramped up the pain and plot twists to box office highs, a franchise was born.
With part III, the story went full Search for Spock and pulled off the Saw equivalent of blowing up the Enterprise: It killed off its main malevolent villain, Jigsaw. But ol’ Jiggy is nothing if not meticulous, and was able to continue his warped games of moral vengeance from beyond the grave (not to mention with continuing appearances from fan-favorite Tobin Bell) for several more sequels. But by the seventh Saw, the mythology had become too complicated and the grosses (the money kind) were trending downwards; Saw 3D was ordered to cram several movies’ worth of plot into one whip-lashing finale.
After seven years, the series returned in 2017 with Jigsaw, which enjoyed a critical response that was about as sparkling as could be expected based on previous encounters. But the box office appeared encouraging enough to continue on for a ninth entry. Spiral: From the Book of Saw, a standalone entry starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, is releasing after a yearlong delay caused by COVID. Before we see where Spiral places, we’re ranking all Saw movies by Tomatometer!
(Photo by Lionsgate)
When Saw burst onto the scene in 2004, it introduced audiences to a monologuing killer named Jigsaw who enjoyed games, puppets on tricycles, and puzzle pieces made of skin. James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s (Insidious) $1.5 million budgeted film became an instant success, and it developed into an incredibly complicated franchise (the timeline is bonkers) that featured nonlinear timelines, bloody traps, and one crucial hacksaw.
What sets the Saw franchise apart from other horror mainstays is that it has the lowest Tomatometer average of any franchise with at least seven theatrically released entries. Its 26% Tomatometer average beats out other franchises like Friday the 13th (29.41%), Halloween (33.7%), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (54.5%) for the bottom spot. That said, the series has pulled in a massive $500 million domestically, and the average audience score sits at 60%, which puts it ahead of all the aforementioned major franchises and gives it the fourth highest audience score average behind the Evil Dead (80.75%), Hannibal Lecter (80%), and Night of the Living Dead (79.1%) franchises.
That may all change this weekend, though, because there’s a new Saw film opening, and it’s directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, the brotherly duo behind Predestination and Daybreakers. What sticks out in the trailer for Jigsaw is the amount of carnage actually related to saws, which looks like it’s been cranked up to 11, because the franchise in general hasn’t actually featured a lot of, well, sawing. In fact, after the first film, saws played a largely ancillary role in the series.
Nevertheless, we did a little research, and it turns out the style and amount of saw action can actually factor into how good a Saw movie might be. Here’s what we found:
(Photo by Lionsgate)
Tomatometer Average: 48%
Audience Score Average: 84%
Only the first Saw film features a body part being completely severed. A little odd for a series titled Saw that features 52 deaths, to be sure, but it’s probably fair to say there was no topping that first dismemberment, as far as narrative impact. The scene is arguably the high point of the series, and it serves as a reminder of the patience and planning that director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell dedicated to the film. What sets Saw apart from the six sequels that followed is that Wan and Whannell, who didn’t direct any of the follow-ups, thought they were making a thriller in the vein of Seven. For better or worse, the marketing department latched onto the iconic torture element, and the rest is history.
Tomatometer Average: 32.3%
Audience Score Average: 64.6%
Saw, Saw V, and Saw VI feature instances of people surviving ordeals with saws. Saw (48%) and Saw VI (37%) also happen to have the highest Tomatometer scores of the series, while Saw VI is a weird outlier, because its 38% score isn’t actually that bad, compared to its peers. Sixth installments rarely do very well with critics, and as far as the horror genre is concerned, only 1986’s Jason Lives (52%) and 2013’s Curse of Chucky (82%) can boast better scores.
Tomatometer Average : 30.25%
Audience Score Average: 64%
The hacksaw from the first film gets a lot of mileage in the series. It pops up in Saw, Saw II, Saw III, and Saw 3D. Throughout the four films, it was used to saw off a foot, slit a throat, and be reunited with the guy who used the saw to cut off his own foot. The saw is proof of the series’ ability to intertwine its narrative and tie everything together via a very intricate timeline.
Tomatometer Average: 24.3%
Audience Score Average: 50.5%
Saws are surprisingly non-lethal in the Saw films. In fact, only three people are actually killed by saws.
There is some humor and poetry in Jigsaw’s death, but it arguably would have packed a bigger punch if it had come by way of one of his own traps.
Tomatometer Average: 22.5%
Audience Score Average: 64%
John Kramer, a.k.a. Jigsaw, was the glue that held the films together, and after his aforementioned murder (by saw) in the third installment, the audience was greeted by his autopsy in the early scenes of Saw IV. Sure, he’s already dead in the latter instance, but did the coroners use a saw on him? They sure did.
The Saw franchise is a perhaps surprisingly successful example of the prototypical contemporary horror franchise. Critics have hated it while audiences consider it Fresh, and the films have made an insane amount of money on tiny budgets.
Throughout it all, though, the presence of its titular weapon ties everything together rather nicely. The same hacksaw bookends the first seven installments, and if John Kramer were still around, he’d surely be pleased by the longevity of his purchase. We’ll just have to wait and see if it makes an appearance in Jigsaw.
Jigsaw is back in theaters this Friday, bringing back memories of the bygone era between 2004 and 2010 (the release years of the first and last Saw movies) when every horror movie released seemed to fall under the guise of ‘torture porn.’ They involved inflicting the most amount of pain in the slowest way possible, where dark fates could lead to death, or something worse: living on, literally broken in body and mind. Relive the pain with 24 best and worst (mostly worst) torture porn movies pieced and sorted by Tomatometer!
We here at RT went deep into the vault of horror franchises to tally up the victims of some of film and TV’s most deadly psycho killers. Take a peek at the results — if you dare!
Haunting Grounds: Bates Motel
Estimated Body Count: 20
Has there ever been a cinematic slasher more pitiable than Norman Bates? The poor guy is practically at war with himself, and his mom nags him from beyond the grave. Heck, every time he makes friends, they seem to end up dead. If Psycho exerted a profound influence on the slasher genre (and onscreen violence in general), it wasn’t because Norman was a particularly prolific killer. Alfred Hitchcock’s original (and the sequels) depicted a man in the clutches of inner torment and madness that was so gripping and scary that it didn’t need buckets of blood (or, in one memorable case, chocolate syrup) to be deeply unsettling. Nine deaths are attributed to Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) on the five-season AMC prequel TV series Bates Motel. But, really, who can say for sure?
Haunting Grounds: The Jeepers Creepers series
Estimated Body Count: 20
When Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer wrote “Jeepers Creepers” in the late 1930s, they surely never guessed their snappy little pop ditty would go on to provide the theme song for a murderous winged creature who possesses a bee- and dog-like ability to smell fear, and who can regenerate body parts by ingesting those of his victims. And that’s not all — the Creeper can also overcome overwhelmingly negative reviews, too! Although critics kept 2001’s Jeepers Creepers from a Fresh certification, the Creeper was back just two years later with a sequel, and there was even talk of a third installment. Not bad for a bad guy who’s limited to a single 23-day feeding frenzy every 23 years, right?
Haunting Grounds: The Thing from Another World, The Thing, The Thing
Estimated Body Count: 20
Human beings have long wondered what otherworldy monstrosities might be lurking out in the far reaches of space, which helps to explain the enduring appeal of John W. Campbell’s 1938 short story, Who Goes There? It’s the tale of an Antarctic research team that unwittingly rescues a malevolent alien from an icy grave. The creature repays the favor by forcibly (and messily) assimilating every living being within reach, including 20 unlucky scientists and a handful of dogs. Campbell’s monster — referred to as the Thing — has provided rich fodder for filmmakers over the decades, inspiring 1951’s The Thing from Another World, John Carpenter’s 1982 cult classic The Thing, and, most recently, the 2011 prequel/reboot of the same name.
Haunting Grounds: The Jaws series
Estimated Body Count: ~21, if you count the whale in Jaws 2
Most of the slashers on our list are bona fide film icons, but few of them can boast of having changed the entire industry the way Peter Benchley’s great white shark did: Before Jaws‘ 1975 debut, studios actually held their big films out of the summer market, believing the vacation months to be a commercial graveyard. Almost $500 million (and lots of bloody ocean water) later, a franchise was born — and although the third and fourth installments aren’t good for much besides unintentional humor, the original remains a certified classic with a 98 percent Tomatometer rating. Granted, the kill count here takes into consideration the havoc wreaked by multiple great whites over the course of the franchise, but it merely illustrates what Benchley already knew: the ocean is scary enough even without a gigantic bloodthirsty shark chasing you around, so tossing one in the mix just ups the ante.
Haunting Grounds: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series
Estimated Body Count: 30
The twisted true-life tale of grave robber Ed Gein has inspired many notable cinematic grotesques, from Norman Bates in Psycho to Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. However, Tobe Hooper may have done the most to immortalize Gein in the annals of perverse pop culture by emphasizing his habit of making clothing out of human flesh. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre introduced Leatherface, a developmentally disabled fellow under the control of his cannibalistic family. Though he started out as a pretty timid guy who was as afraid of visitors as they were of him, Leatherface came out of his shell in the sequels and reboots, making up for lost time in liberally employing his Poulan 306A.
Haunting Grounds: The Hellraiser series
Estimated Body Count: 35
By the late 1980s, the slasher genre was starting to feel a little stale — and then along came Pinhead, the sadomasochistic leader of the extradimensional pack of hooligans known as the Cenobites. The spike-headed hook fetishist wasn’t featured heavily in 1987’s Hellraiser, but Pinhead’s combination of creepy appearance, selective taste for victims, and clear fondness for gruesome torture stole the movie; throughout the eight-film series (four of which were released straight to DVD), Pinhead has remained the only constant, and for good reason: although his body count may be relatively low, no one else can match his prowess with a sharp, well-placed hook.
Haunting Grounds: The Child’s Play series
Estimated Body Count: ~38
Chucky may have devolved into a pint-sized Tony Clifton at this point, but the original Child’s Play was a superior genre piece — creepy, suspenseful, and blessed with an insidious sense of humor. Child’s Play riffed on the idea of innocence gone horribly wrong, with a quasi-Cabbage Patch Kid embodied by a vicious serial killer thanks to a voodoo ritual. Subsequent sequels — the most recent of which, Curse of Chucky, just recently made its way onto home video — have delivered more camp than scares, but Chucky’s left a trail of more than 35 corpses in his wake — and probably didn’t enamor himself to Teddy Ruxpin.
Haunting Grounds: The Nightmare on Elm Street series
Estimated Body Count: ~39
Arguably the most recognizable movie monster of the 1980s, Freddy Krueger may not be able to compete with other horror icons when it comes to killing in bulk. But the dermatologically-challenged Elm Street resident certainly wins points for style; in addition to his expert use of claw-tipped leather gloves, Freddy is adept at shape-shifting, strangulation, and generating geysers of blood from the bodies of future heartthrobs. Even accounting for the various forms Freddy has taken over the years in his efforts to turn the sweetest dreams dark and bloody, we’ve got his kill count somewhere in the vicinity of 39. That might be fewer than one might expect, but Mr. Krueger is an artiste who chooses his victims very specifically.
Haunting Grounds: The Final Destination series
Estimated Body Count: 39
Remember the old margarine commercials that said you can’t fool Mother Nature? Well, according to the Final Destination series, you can’t cheat Fate, either. It’s often said that revenge is a dish best served cold — but for the unseen hand of Fate, it tastes even better when garnished with a series of incredibly brutal (and, it must be said, very morbidly entertaining) booby traps. The series’ unseen antagonist has dispatched 39 victims, using everything from the mundane (death by falling brick) to the cleverly rewind-worthy (shower cord strangulation, ladder through the eye, death by falling cherry picker). By the time we surpassed The Final Destination and got Final Destination 5, the series was clearly aware of its silly appeal, and each creatively choreographed death was equally as hilarious as it was cringeworthy.
Haunting Grounds: The Scream franchise, Scream (TV series)
Estimated Body Count: 49
One of the rare slasher antagonists who’s a killer by committee, the Scream series’ Ghostface is played by a revolving door of mask-donning, knife-wielding psychopaths. Their motives are different (peer pressure, revenge, etc.), but the results are the same, no matter who wears the Edward Munch-inspired getup: teenagers will turn up dead, following the conventions of horror movies. And, as with other horror franchises, the body count increases with each sequel. Adding to the mayhem was the first season of MTV’s Scream, which aired this summer. All in all, this council of killers is responsible for at least 49 slayings.
Haunting Grounds: The Leprechaun series
Estimated Body Count: 50
The Leprechaun series is the embodiment of the finest that Irish culture and letters has to offer, easily surpassing the works of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. The titular antihero is murderously committed to acquiring a pot o’ gold, an undertaking that prompts travel to such exotic locales as Las Vegas, Compton, and outer space. Despite his diminutive stature, the Leprechaun’s super-sharp claws and teeth have helped him tally 50 onscreen fatalities, including a very young Jennifer Aniston, who made her big screen debut in the first film.
Haunting Grounds: The Saw series
Estimated Body Count: 60
John Kramer was first christened “Jigsaw” by detectives who discovered the serial killer’s calling card was a puzzle piece-shaped hunk of flesh carved from the corpses of his victims. The name stuck as the cops closed in on Kramer and realized his elaborate, irony-laden traps were designed to punish those he deemed guilty of criminal acts or taking life for granted (he must have been a fan of Se7en). More characters and plot twists (Jigsaw doesn’t work alone! Something about cancer!) were introduced as the series wore on, and Saw evolved into a labyrinthine annual soap opera drenched in blood and agony. A Grand Guignol for our times.
Haunting Grounds: Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Hannibal, Hannibal Rising, Hannibal (TV)
Estimated Body Count: 98
Before 1991, you may not have even known what fava beans were — but after Anthony Hopkins’ first appearance as Doctor Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, nobody ever thought of them the same way again. Like Jason Voorhees, Lecter doesn’t appear in much of the famous reboot — he’s only in a little over 15 minutes of Lambs — but it was the first time we actually witnessed the good doctor rack up a few kills on screen (both Manhunter and its remake Red Dragon only imply Lecter’s murdered some folks), and audiences had a clear, um, appetite for the flesh-craving serial killer’s brand of mayhem: he’s gone on to appear in a number of other books and movies. Although we just saw the end of Hannibal‘s three-season run on NBC, series creator Bryan Fuller insists we haven’t seen the last of Lecter just yet.
Haunting Grounds: The Halloween series, minus Season of the Witch
Estimated Body Count: ~107
The best-known escapee of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, Michael Myers has never been a big fan of babysitters, nor is he particularly fleet of foot. He digs Blue Oyster Cult, and makes special use of Star Trek paraphernalia and kitchen cutlery. Since the release of John Carpenter’s landmark Halloween, Myers’ legend has been told in a number of sequels, and if his reasons for killing are obscure, he’s still coldly efficient at the task; he’s racked up a whopping 100-plus notches on his belt.
Haunting Grounds: The Invisible Man (1933)
Estimated Body Count: 123
We were shocked (shocked!) to discover that killers with high body counts could even be found in Old Hollywood fare. Based on the H.G. Wells 1897 novel, James Whale’s pre-code horror film featured Claude Rains (Casablanca) in his American film debut as the titular villain, also known as Dr. Jack Griffin. Hiding away in a snowy village, Griffin experiments on himself while working on a drug called “monocane,” which he believes is the secret to invisibility. Although he does succeed in turning himself invisible, he also becomes a crazed murderer. Killing those who get in his way, and a train full of people just for kicks, Griffin eventually causes the death of 123 people – including himself.
Haunting Grounds: The Friday the 13th series
Estimated Body Count: 146
Rocking facial protection that would do Jacques Plante proud, Jason Voorhees terrorized Camp Crystal Lake with cold precision (and an ability to cheat death that Rasputin would envy) in Friday the 13th. Occasionally, he breaks out of the bucolic confines of the countryside to wreak havoc in the big city (Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan), Hades (Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday), and the future (Jason X). According to our research, Jason has put a whopping 146 unfortunate souls on ice. Pretty impressive for a cat who drowned in 1958.
En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.
A nanny is shocked to learn that her new employers’ son is actually a living doll in this Friday’s The Boy, inspiring this week’s 24 Frames gallery of the creepiest dolls from film and TV history!
Sometimes they come back from the dead…again! And sometimes…they never come back at all. That’s what happened to the horror movies in this gallery: they never got the sequel they deserved, so we’re dreaming up our own. You’re welcome, Hollywood!
[Spoiler alert for the whole gallery!]
Fear, I think, is one of the essential components of movie watching that almost
completely disappears as we grow older. When was the last time you sat down for
a movie truly afraid of what images it was going to show you? As a kid, I’d
wander the horror aisles of rental joints, filling my mind with the most
horrific images based on these sun-blanched VHS covers. Of course, one day you
man up and get the movies (or get your older brother to rent them) and watch
them and they’re nowhere near as bad as you imagined.
Having deliberately avoided movies broadly categorized as torture porn, I saw
the first Saw afraid. Fear heightens your senses, gets you involved in
the movie, and suspends your cynicism. I started watching Saw II with the
idea of maintaining this level of emotion, but it was clear from the opening
sequence that expending that much emotion would be unnecessary.
Saw II is more standard horror, with slicker production and bright, poppy
cinematography. It’s not the gut-wrencher its predecessor was, but it’s also
infinitely more enjoyable.
We’re introduced to Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg), a detective working close
on the Jigsaw case. His team lucks out in finding Jigsaw in his lair, revealed
as a pathetic cancer-ridden patient named John Kramer (Tobin Bell). Of course,
the tables turn: eight people are revealed to be trapped in a house being slowly
pumped with lethal gas, with one of them being Matthews’s son. Then Jigsaw
proposes a game: Matthews has to talk to him for a bit and his son will appear
safe and sound.[rtimage]MapID=1152222&MapTypeID=2&photo=2&legacy=1[/rtimage]
Part of what made Saw so effective was its rough feel: there was no eye
candy and it lacked a concrete identifiable villain. Saw II plays more
into convention: there are hot chicks running around, the movie gives us two
villains (Jigsaw himself, and Xavier, one of the house victims who slowly goes
berserk) to root against (or root for, depending on your persuasion), and spends
nearly half its running time as a police procedural, giving us plenty of story
If I had seen Saw in 2004 and waited that whole year for Saw II, I
can see why this would be a kind of a disappointment. The traps aren’t as
inventive as in the original (they’re actually kinda amusing) and the dramatic
writing isn’t exactly top-caliber. But this movie was just compelling enough,
and “just enough” is perfectly adequate for a marathon. Watching these in rapid
succession, it feels like I’m watching a full DVD season of some really gross,
really disgusting TV show.
And I dug the final twist. Matthews, having gone off the rails, beats, tortures,
and drives Jigsaw to the house, discovering only a trap: he gets chained up in
the same bathroom from the original, his son is revealed safe in Jigsaw’s lair
and Amanda (survivor of the reverse beartrap in the first) as Jigsaw’s protégé.
Definitely a more logical plot twist than the original.
Is Saw II scary? Not at all. But I did get wrapped up in the drama and
increased gore content. Ask me if I would prefer terror or entertainment night
after night, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.[rtimage]MapID=1152222&MapTypeID=2&photo=3&legacy=1[/rtimage]
Body count: 7.
Most inventive trap: A pit full of hypodermic needles. Shawnee Smith
is 2 for 2!
Stupid person in a horror movie moment: Using a key on a door when
specifically instructed not to. Sort of an obvious one.
See Saw schedule:
The biggest thrills of the Saw movies are their surprise endings, which seem to keep audiences guessing even more than M. Night Shyamalan‘s latest creations. That’s why the producers of the Saw sequels are starting there and working backwards.
“We just basically locked down the ending about a month ago so it’s working off of what happens from there,” said Oren Koules. “There’s nothing guaranteed. It’s really Mark [Burg] and I looking at each other and saying, ‘Okay, this story works, let’s go.’ When it doesn’t, we won’t go. We’ll miss a year, we’ll miss two years. It’s two things: If we have a story that works and the fans want to see it. It’s such a simple equation. Right now we’re working on some things on V. There’s nothing definitive.”
Burg may even have plans to make Saw V and VI at the same time, though coming up with two shocking, surprising scripts for one epic shoot may not be possible (especially now with the WGA in full effect). This plan also hinted at which characters from Saw IV might become the focus of a Saw V.
“It was an idea of ours to try and keep the cast together because it’s really difficult with Scott [Patterson] doing a TV series and other people doing other shows that we’re going to try to. I’d say it’s not out of the question but it’s going to be really hard for us to get the screenplay to Saw VI where we want it to be to be able to do it.”
If Saw V does go ahead, it looks like Jigsaw will remain a factor. Despite having his head on a morgue scale on the posters for Saw IV, Koules wants actor Tobin Bell back for “as many as he wants.”
The boys know that they won’t always be making a Saw movie a year. They’re prepared to accept their fate when the grosses go down. “I think we’ll all know,” said Koules. “As of the tracking, as of today and as of everything else right now, we’re still rolling. Listen, we’re surprised. There’s going to be a day we wake up, we don’t have a $25 million weekend, we have a $4 million weekend. We’re fine. We own the films. We’re okay.”
is the fourth Saw film in as many years. After reports that the Saw
franchise would finally take a year off, producer
Mark Burg countered that he’s
still aiming for October 2008 to unleash Saw V.
"This is the first time we’ve actually started developing
story ideas before a movie came out," said Burg. "We have a really good take for
where we want to go with the next one but it’s not good enough yet. My goal is
to have another Saw movie next year. However, if the script doesn’t come
together, then we won’t. We’ve got a really close idea. We’ve got two thirds of
a really good idea but I’ve spent the last weeks, four hours a day, meeting with
the writers to flesh it all out."
Should all go according to plan, co-producer
wants to take October 2008 to the next level. "I would be surprised if we’re not
out for ’08," said Koules. "The only argument is I want to play on Halloween day
because 10/31 next year is Friday. They want to go 10/24. It’s a big debate.
We’re ’08 unless something dramatic happens. We have a pretty good story. We’re
not there yet but we have a really good story."
Following a sluggish fall season, November kicks off with a bang this weekend with two high profile films both reaching for the number one spot while appealing to vastly different audiences. Paramount and DreamWorks target kids with the animated comedy Bee Movie from Jerry Seinfeld while Universal goes after adult audiences with its crime drama American Gangster which pits Denzel Washington against Russell Crowe. With little overlap in business, the overall North American box office should surge and finally beat out year-ago levels leading to a solid kickoff for the holiday movie season.
A decade after conquering the television world, Jerry Seinfeld aims to take over the land of film with Bee Movie. The PG-rated toon tells the story of a bee that must try to save his world from those nasty humans that take their honey. Also lending vocal talents are Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Oprah Winfrey, and Chris Rock who snagged the coveted ‘and’ credit for what amounts to about 60 seconds of dialogue. Timing for the Paramount/DreamWorks release is as good as it gets. Not only is early November a hot time for kids movies to score at the box office but the marketplace has suffered a virtual drought when it comes to family-friendly entertainment this fall with The Game Plan being the only major contender. Parents are dying to take their kids to something else, anything else.
Bee Movie falls into the lucrative category of digitally animated comedies about talking creatures featuring the voice of a popular comedian. Last November’s Happy Feet with Robin Williams opened to $41.5M, the previous year’s Chicken Little bowed to $40M, and 2004’s Shark Tale debuted with $47.6M. Bee has the slick animation and funny situations that kids like but also features humor that adults will enjoy too so it will play to a broad audience. And the millions of Seinfeld fans that have had nothing but DVD box sets every Thanksgiving will finally have some new material they can check out from their favorite comic. Critics have not been very kind but that should not affect the grosses that much. The studio’s marketing blitz will be enough to make children demand a trip to the local megaplex. With a highly commercial product, no competition for the family audience, and an ultrawide launch in over 3,500 theaters, Bee Movie could win the box office battle this weekend and gross about $42M.
Gangster should play out like a Denzel movie more than anything else since his box office track record is the strongest and has more consistency than those of Scott and Crowe. Having scored ten career number one openings to date, Washington has seen his top bow come from last year’s Inside Man which debuted to $29M and a $10,275 average. Last fall’s organized crime hit The Departed opened to $26.9M and a $8,912 average and makes for a good comparison given its genre, starpower, acclaim, rating, and length. Gangster will attract a larger African American audience than Scorsese‘s award winner did so an opening north of $30M seems likely. Appeal to men and women will be equally strong. Many adult dramas have struggled at the box office this fall but American Gangster has the firepower to go out there and pull in paying audiences. Plus the weekend’s other major offerings will not eat into its customer base by too much. Heading into 3,054 theaters, American Gangster might debut with around $34M this weekend.
Look for a better hold from Steve Carell‘s dramedy Dan in Real Life. The Buena Vista title enjoyed a solid average and has generated good word-of-mouth. The weekend’s new releases may not provide too much competition so a decline of 35% could result. That would put Dan at around $7.5M for a total of $22M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: Crashing into multiplexes on a tidal wave of buzz was the raunchy comedy Borat which only debuted in 837 theaters but scored a potent top spot bow of $26.5M for a sizzling average of $31,607. The Fox blockbuster was the only film in 2006 to hit number one while playing in less than 2,000 venues. Final grosses reached $128.5M domestically and over $260M worldwide. Two new kidpics split the family audience and followed in second and third. Disney’s Tim Allen sequel The Santa Clause 3 bowed to $19.5M on its way to $84.5M while Paramount’s animated comedy Flushed Away debuted close behind with $18.8M before finishing with $64.5M. Falling to fourth was Saw III with $14.8M for Lionsgate while the Warner Bros. crime thriller The Departed rounded out the top five with $7.7M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com,
Jigsaw’s twisted games return for another late-October round of torture fun with Saw IV which should allow the lucrative franchise to claim the biggest horror opening of the year for the second straight time. The R-rated gorefest follows last year’s Saw III which bowed to $33.6M this very weekend setting a new debut record for the series. Jigsaw’s death in that installment did not stop a fourth flick from being produced since the most popular horror movie villains never truly die anyway. Although III set a new opening weekend record for the Lionsgate series, it did not match Saw II‘s overall $87M gross and instead finished a bit behind with $80.2M. Still, with small budgets (Saw III was produced for $12M) this cash cow continues to churn out profits and shows no sign of stopping.
The audience for Saw IV is clearly defined and new fans are not likely to be generated. Competition will come primarily from last weekend’s number one opener 30 Days of Night which will suffer a sharp fall this weekend. Otherwise, there is not much to distract genre fans on the weekend before the pumpkin holiday. The marketing has been on par with previous films, but as the franchise ages it risks losing fans who may have had enough with three helpings already. Plus this year has seen a wide assortment of horror films crash and burn which has led to some fright fatigue. Another factor could be the World Series which last year only affected Saw III‘s Friday bow but this year will cut into both Saturday and Sunday business. Many young adults may opt for the torture that the Red Sox are inflicting on the Rockies instead. Saw IV opens on Friday in 3,183 locations and could take in about $29M over three days.
LAST YEAR: Like clockwork, Saw III came in and dominated the pre-Halloween box office with a franchise-best $33.6M debut grossing more than the rest of the top five combined. The Jigsaw pic eroded fast and ended up trailing Saw II‘s total tally and finished with $80.2M. Holding tight in second place was Martin Scorsese‘s crime saga The Departed with $9.8M in its fourth assignment and the lowest drop in the top ten. The magician drama The Prestige followed closely in third with $9.6M. The war drama Flags of Our Fathers ranked fourth with $6.3M while the animated hit Open Season placed fifth with $5.9M. Opening to dismal results outside the top ten was the Tim Robbins drama Catch A Fire with only $2M on its way to a horrible $4.3M. Platforming in only seven sites was the ensemble drama Babel which went on to gross $34.3M and win the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Drama.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
If you’ve got a thirst for cinematic gore that just can’t wait to be slaked until October 26, IESB has some good news for you — the first five minutes of Saw IV, recently shown to Comic-Con attendees, have made their way online!
The fourth installment of the franchise, which places Saw II and Saw III director Darren Lynn Bousman alongside series creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell, picks up right where the last one left off. From the synopsis:
Jigsaw and his apprentice Amanda are dead.
Upon the news of Detective Kerry’s murder, two seasoned FBI profilers, Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Agent Perez, arrive at the depleted police precinct and help veteran Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) sift through Jigsaw’s latest grizzly game of victims and piece together the puzzle. However, when SWAT Commander Rigg, the last officer untouched by Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), is suddenly abducted and thrust into the madman’s harrowing game, the officer has but ninety minutes to overcome a series of interconnected traps…or face the deadly consequences.
Rigg’s citywide pursuit leaves a wake of dead bodies, and Detective Hoffman and the FBI uncover long hidden clues that lead them back to Jigsaw’s ex-wife Jill (Betsy Russell). The genesis of Jigsaw’s evil is unveiled, exposing the puppet master’s true intentions and the sinister plan for his past, present and future victims.
There’s nothing like a little blood and guts to kick off your Friday, so go ahead and click on the link below!
Remember how Saw sequel maker Darren Lynn Bousman recently signed a deal to do a musical called Repo! The Genetic Opera? Yeah, for Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate. And you’ll never guess who he just cast in a singing role.
Yes, that’s right. None other than Paris Hilton will join Paul Sorvino and Alexa Vega in Mr. Bousman’s passion project: An odd-sounding musical piece he co-created with Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich. According to Variety, "Hilton will sing in a futuristic thriller framed around musical numbers that range from opera to rock. The setting is 2056, when a plague nearly destroys the human race and survival is dependent upon being able to finance a pricey organ transplant."
Hoo boy. Sounds like it could be the next Rocky Horror Picture Show … or maybe the next Xanadu. Why Hilton? Here’s what Mr. Bousman had to say: "I have auditioned at least 30 actresses for this role — Paris came in and owned it. She is this role." Really? More than she was the character in, say, House of Wax, Bottoms Up, and Pledge This? Gimmick casting, to be sure, but I’m afraid Darren may have just alienated more than half his audience right there. I mean … I’m a big fan of the Saw flicks, but buying a ticket to Paris Hilton movie? I just don’t see it.
If there’s one thing Lionsgate is known for, it’s the mad marketing skills where their horror flicks are concerned. Needless to say, the promotional goodies for the third Saw sequel are no exception.
Check our source link below for your first look at the brand-new Saw 4 poster. Yep, that kid from Jerry Maguire was right: The human head weighs (about) eight pounds. I guess some could call this one-sheet a small dose of “foreshadowing.” Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) would have to be pretty damn smart to survive a weigh-in like that.
Obviously you can expect the next Saw installment to hit theaters (all together now) just in time for Halloween. The Saw sequel expert (Darren Lynn Bousman) is on hand once again, only this time he’s working from a screenplay by the Feast team.
Back when the Saw producers were looking for someone to helm the third sequel, production designer David Hackl was #1 on their list — until Darren Lynn Bousman came back. But the guy may get his chance yet.
According to Bloody-Disgusting.com, Mr. Hackl has been signed to direct not only Saw 5 … but Saw 6 also. Yep, early plans seem to be in motion for the next two sequels of the tummy-churning horror franchise. (And since I liked the first three flicks, I’ll hold my judgments for now.)
Fans can (of course) expect Bousman’s Saw 4 to hit theaters this October with an audible whack — and undoubtedly a nice little ka-ching at the box office. Everyone seems to think the “hardcore horror” phase is over, but I won’t believe that until a Saw flick fails to turn a tidy profit.