“It’s it’s Halloween… It must be Saw!” is how Lionsgate has touted the latest sequels in the Saw franchise the past few years. They might need a new tagline when Saw VII in 3D comes out next year. This year, if it’s Halloween… It must be Paranormal Activity. And a concert film starring a freaky looking dead guy. Not to mention Law Abiding Citizen and Couples Retreat, both of which easily outgrossed Saw VI.
After last weekend’s disappointing opening, Saw VI dropped nearly a whopping 61% over the Halloween weekend box office, taking in a paltry estimated $5.56 million (per Box Office Mojo). The usually dependable horror franchise has yet to even surpass the miserable remake of The Stepfather in total box office. Could it be that audiences have finally tired of Jigsaw’s games? Could it be that even the most die-hard followers cannot stand the Costas Mandylor-ing of their franchise? Could it be that most Saw fans are actually strident Conservatives offended by the latest sequel’s pro-health care reform message? (Didn’t Glenn Beck warn us a few weeks back that in addition to setting up death panels, President Obama also wants to inject us with hydrochloric acid?)
Or could it be that Paranormal Activity has finally proven to be the Saw killer we all knew was going to come along sooner or later?
The under $15,000 indie fright flick has now officially dethroned The Blair Witch Project as the most profitable movie of all time with its second place weekend haul of over $16.5 million, putting it now close to $85 million at the box office. It remains to be seen how long past the Halloween season Paranormal Activity will continue to scare audiences on the big screen.
Zombieland broke the $70 million mark, and it’s pretty much a given that Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant will not be the start of a new franchise as it continues to tank, pulling in barely more money in its second week than Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs did in its seventh.
Meanwhile, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II was dumped back into 1,083 theaters this past weekend in a desperate attempt to pull in a few more dollars after floundering back in August. How well did this re-release go? H2 landed in 15th place with $475,000, or a per screen average of $439 compared to Paranormal Activity‘s $6,880 (which is higher than Michael Jackson’s This Is It at $6,119) and Saw VI‘s $1,831. This was really the weekend they should have opened Halloween II in the first place, but since the Weinsteins appear to have completely lost whatever mojo they once had… Toss this franchise out with the rotting jack-o-lanterns.
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