(Photo by Brooke Palmer)
Masks are coming off in certain locations and more seats may be opening up in movie theaters but the films themselves are still not drawing much of an audience. Only four films this year have managed to open to more than $10 million and if the Saw series has anything in common with Raya and the Last Dragon it may be the disappointment in not being able to join that exclusive club in 2021. Instead, the latest Saw film, Spiral, looks to become another footnote suggesting that even brand names are not bringing back people to theaters. Yet.
The Saw series was on a seven-year hiatus after “The Final Chapter” when Jigsaw was launched in 2017 to a $16.6 million start. The previous low for the franchise was Saw VI ($14.1 million), when people decided they would rather have a Paranormal Activity film for their October horror than another Saw entry. After James Wan’s original opened to $18.2 million in 2004, the next four entries opened between $30 million and $34 million. Nobody expected Spiral: From the Book of Saw to approach those lofty numbers, even on the downslope of the pandemic. But it was widely expected to come somewhere in the vicinity of those Saw VI opening numbers. Though: Is it the pandemic or are people just tired of the Jigsaw shtick altogether?
In terms of horror comps for 2021, a $8.7 million start is certainly better than The Unholy ($2.35 million) or Separation ($1.8 million). It is also better than last week’s Wrath of Man ($8.3 million). Heck, that makes it good enough for the fifth best opening of the year. But do not expect this film to chug along the way Nobody’s $6.82 million opening did to over $25 million, so far. The last five films in the Saw series dropped between 60.6% and 67.6% after their first weekends. Wrath of Man just dropped 55% from its number 1 perch last weekend to gross $3.7 million this weekend. Assuming Spiral holds on to a narrow margin for first place next week we could be looking at the lowest number 1 gross since the weekend of February 19, when The Croods: A New Age made $1.71 million. The lowest since then was Raya and the Last Dragon’s third weekend victory, with $5.12 million. The Disney film has now officially surpassed Tom & Jerry to become the second-highest grossing film of 2021 and the fifth-highest of the pandemic. Though the industry is certainly hoping that all the films on that list will be knocked down two notches sometime after Memorial Day weekend with the releases of A Quiet Place Part II and Cruella.
(Photo by © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection)
Taylor Sheridan’s Those Who Wish Me Dead made $2.8 million, which does not rank as the weakest of the Warner Brothers/HBO Max hybrid openings: Judas and the Black Messiah made just $2.07 million. But that was still well back in February with theaters closed and vaccinations just getting rolling. It was also in 1,888 theaters compared to Dead’s 3,188. That is the widest launch for any film during the pandemic and represents just an $878 per-theater average. Judas’ PTA was $1,096.
Roadside’s wide release of Finding You finished with $954,000 in 1,314 theaters. That’s a PTA of $726. Focus put out Timur Bekmambetov’s Profile, which first premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2018, and it grossed just $670,000 in 2,033 theaters for a $329 per-theater average. That is just above the current low in 2021 for a wide release PTA, which belongs to Long Weekend, released in 814 theaters and grossing $245,812 for a PTA of $302.
Netflix released Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead ahead of its release online next week and the company finally gave up some box office numbers: Dead made $780,000 in 430 theaters. That’s a $1,813 average. It’s also the best opening for a film in less than 1,000 theaters this year, just besting last week’s 10th anniversary re-release of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which grossed $729,930 in just 152 theaters. That is the fifth highest PTA of the year.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
May 14: On this date in 2016, Jon Favreau’s retelling of The Jungle Book reached the $300 million milestone on its 30th day of release by grossing $7.76 million. In 2009, it was the seventh day of release for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot and it made $5.6 million to cross the $100 million line. By contrast, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah also hit $100 million on this day in 2014 by grossing $42,885, but it took 48 days to reach that mark.
May 16: This date is actually quite the banner one for Marvel and its characters and is one we will have to keep an eye on in coming years. In 2007, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 broke the $250 million line after 13 days of release with $3.14 million. Flash-forward to 2016 when Captain America: Civil War made $4.75 million and crossed $300 million in its 11th day. It was a continuing trend when it came to Tony Stark appearances. In 2013, Iron Man 3 made $3.29 million to go over $300 million in its 14th day of release; in 2010, it was Iron Man 2 grossing $14.27 million to pass $200 million in 10 days. And it was so close but no cigar when the MCU kicked off in 2008 with the original Iron Man: it grossed $8.65 million on its 15th day of release and its total on this date was $199.94 million. Oh well.
Eric Bana is back in IFC’s The Dry as a man who returns home to piece together a murder and some old wounds. Meanwhile, Focus is releasing the documentary, Final Account, about the last living generation of people to participate in Hitler’s Third Reich.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]