Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Fourth Saw Pic Generates $32M Debut

Lionsgates Saws the competition in half.

by | October 28, 2007 | Comments

For the third straight year, the weekend before Halloween was ruled by a
$30M+ opening from the Saw
franchise proving that the horror series is still the top choice for those
looking for a scare. While
Saw IV
debuted at number one with a brutal box office bow, the romantic
dramedy Dan in
Real Life
Steve Carell
opened impressively in second place and made for a popular counter-programming
choice for those not interested in blood and gore. Overall, the North American
box office came back to life as the top ten was about even with this same
weekend in each of the last two years when by no coincidence earlier Saw
installments reigned supreme.

Lionsgate’s wildly successful fall movie slate welcomed another hit with
Saw IV
which topped
the charts with an estimated $32.1M launch taking in more ticket sales than the
next four films combined. It was the largest debut for any film since the comedy
Superbad in
mid-August, the best opening for any horror film this year, and proved that the
distributor’s highly profitable franchise was still a big hit with fans.
Premiering in 3,183 theaters, the R-rated torturefest averaged a gruesome
$10,088 per site. The performance was a bit below the $33.6M opening of
from this
weekend last year and ahead of the $31.7M start for
Saw II
in 2005. Those
films reached $87M and $80.2M, respectively in the domestic market. As the
fourth installment in a horror franchise, Saw IV should suffer rapid erosion in
the weeks ahead, but a muscular final gross of $70-75M could still result.

Buena Vista delivered a strong start for its comedy-drama offering
Dan in Real Life

which bowed to an estimated $12.1M from 1,921 theaters for a solid $6,289
average per venue. The Steve Carell vehicle about a widower who falls for his
brother’s girlfriend posted impressive numbers given its moderately wide release
and benefited from the studio’s sneak previews last weekend which helped to
spread word-of-mouth for a film that was not necessarily an easy sell. Critics
had mixed feelings but were generally pleased with Dan.

With Saw IV stealing away the horror crowd, the vampire thriller
30 Days of Night

fell sharply in its second weekend dropping 58% to third place with an estimated
$6.7M. Sony’s $30M fright flick has scared up $27.3M in ten days and looks
headed for about a $40M finish.

Disney’s family comedy
The Game Plan

enjoyed a great hold in its fifth frame sliding only 24% to an estimated $6.3M
for a $77.1M cume. Lionsgate found itself in fifth with
Did I Get Married?
which grossed an estimated $5.7M, off 53%, giving
the Tyler Perry
hit $47.3M to date. So far this fall, the distributor has opened four films with
debut averages of over $5,000 including two with averages north of $10,000.

A pair of well-reviewed adult dramas followed suffering only small declines.
George Clooney‘s
legal thriller
Michael Clayton
dipped only 25% to an estimated $5M giving Warner
Bros. a solid $28.7M to date. Miramax witnessed a good sophomore hold with its
Ben Affleck-directed
mystery Gone
Baby Gone
which took in an estimated $3.9M, down just 29%, pushing
the ten-day total to $11.3M.

The sports spoof comedy
The Comebacks

collected an estimated $3.5M in its second weekend, down a moderate 38%, and put
its sum at $10M after ten days. A $17-19M final is likely. Sony’s crime drama
We Own the Night

followed dropping 37% to an estimated $3.4M giving the
pic $25.1M thus far. Rounding out the top ten was the latest
re-release of Tim


Nightmare Before Christmas
which fell 37% to an estimated $3.3M
giving the Disney title $10M from its limited engagement.

Two star-driven underachievers dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The
declined by 42% in its second frame taking in an estimated
$2.4M for a ten-day tally of just $7.8M. A $13-15M final should result for New
Line. Paramount’s
Ben Stiller
The Heartbreak Kid
tumbled 54% to an estimated $1.8M leaving the pic with only $35.1M overall. The
Farrelly brothers project will struggle to reach $39M.

Generating a scorching bow in a platform launch in New York was
Sidney Lumet‘s
critically acclaimed drama

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
which grossed an estimated
$73,500 from only two houses for a strong $36,750 per site. ThinkFilm reported
that numerous moviegoers were turned away at sold out shows on Friday and
Saturday and that the film will expand into six additional markets for a total
of 50 locations this Friday.

Also showing strength in its debut was the inspirational tale
with an
estimated $1.3M from 165 playdates for a solid $8,026 average. The Roadside
Attractions release targeted the Latino and faith-based audiences and won the
Audience Award at Toronto last year.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $82M which was off 2% from last year when
Saw III debuted in first place with $33.6M; and down a scant 1% from 2005
when Saw II opened in the top spot with $31.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandaya,