Hollywood gasps as 'Paranormal Activity' sends 'Saw VI' to a box office grave
The list of films to feel the pain of "Paranormal Activity" cutting into their audience already includes "The Stepfather" and to a lesser extent, "Law Abiding Citizen," but you can add a massive casualty to that list today: "Saw."
In what may be a combination of the horror franchise losing its appeal as well as the power of "Paranormal," "Saw VI" opened to a very disappointing $7 million Friday for what should be an $16-18 million weekend. In comparison, last year's "Saw V" found $14 million on its opening day and a $30 million 3-day. That means this weekends numbers will certainly be torture for Lionsgate execs who may have gone to the Jigsaw well too many times. A seventh "Saw" in 3-D was planned for 2010, but the company may want to reconsider that at this point.
The main culprit in "Saw's" demise was the continuing phenomenon of "Paranormal Activity." In a remarkable turn, the low-budget flick grossed $7.6 million to top Friday's box office for what should be another $20-22 million weekend. By Sunday, the picture should have grossed around $60 million and where it stops nobody knows. An even more impressive comparison, "Paranormal" knocked "Saw" off its expected perch while playing in 1,000 less theaters. That's pretty amazing. Already guaranteed to be one of the most profitable releases in the history of Paramount Pictures, no one is counting an eventual $100 million out.
Showing its appeal wasn't for kids (thankfully), Spike Jonze's "Where The Wild Things Are" dropped a massive 64% from its Friday opening to bring in $4.4 million a week later. That should give it anywhere from $13-15 million for the weekend. The fact it lost the mid-week box office to "Paranormal" is just another sign its audience is fading fast. While many adore it, "Wild Things" should end up with only $70-80 million domestic when all is said in done, but that will still bring a big sigh of relief from the execs at Warner Bros.
The other new releases appear to be nothing but afterthoughts in the minds of moviegoers. "The Vampire's Assistant" found only $2.2 million on Friday for what could be a $7-8 million weekend at best. "Astro Boy" was another Summit opening without "Twilight" in the title that couldn't find an audience. The CG animated flick powered up only $1.8 million for what is also estimated at a $7-8 million 3-day. Fox Searchlight's "Amelia" couldn't get off the ground. Even while playing in only 800 theaters, the biopic took off for only $1.3 million and a probable $3.5-4 million 3-day.
Look for updated weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.