Inside Pulse Box Office Report: Saw 3D Cuts Through Competition

Remember the big dispute between Lionsgate and Paramount with regards to their respective films Saw VI and Paranormal Activity last year? Activity stole the thunder away from Saw VI and its box office performance suffered because of it. And earlier this year, there was a moment where the two studios were eyeing the week before Halloween to bow horror sequels for each franchise. Paramount even went as far to try and get the director of the sixth Saw movie to helm the Paranormal Activity sequel, which had Lionsgate fuming. Ultimately, though, the gig would go to Door in the Floor director Tod Williams.

Saw 3D would open to $22.2 million, which is close to the mid-way point between the lowest opening total ($14 million for Saw VI) and the highest opening total ($33.6 million for Saw III). Considering Paranormal Activity 2‘s gargantuan opening last week of $41.5 million, Lionsgate was wise to push back its release. The $22 million opening was more than enough to ensure that the franchise finish on top, unless Lionsgate decides it needs more sequels and Tyler Perry movies to keep the studio afloat.

Seeing a 59% drop in attendance from its opening last weekend, Paranormal Activity 2 finished in second place with $16.5 million. With a $3 million budget, the film has already cleared $65 million. Though it may not recoup the earnings from the first one, Paramount is surely happy with how well it is performing. Expect a third installment next Halloween.

Still holding well in its third weekend of release is the action comedy Red. Picking up 76 screens this week, the movie added another $10.8 million. Now its domestic earnings match the budget with $58 million. It won’t be a box-office smash for Summit Entertainment, but its overall earnings will still make it a success. This means good things for the film’s director, Robert Schwentke, who has another comic-book movie property percolating with Ryan Reynolds.

Also in its third weekend of release, Paramount’s other cheap sequel, Jackass 3D, opened huge and its $8.4 million gross this weekend pushed it past $100 million on its way to a fourth place finish. Proof that “Ow, My Balls” will be a TV staple in the future (thanks Idiocracy!), jackass stunts never go out of style.

With the exception of Red, teenagers dominated the top half of the box office this weekend. In places fifth through seventh, the more adult fare fought each other for viewership. Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter expanded this weekend adding 243 screens on its way to earning $6.3 million. Disney’s Secretariat finished with $5 million. While both may have had award aspirations, their box office numbers sure won’t reflect it. Hereafter will most likely perform as well as the Angelina Jolie-starrer Changeling. Secretariat is not this year’s Blind Side, but its drops in attendance aren’t severe, allowing the film to keep pace with other films in the bottom five. Coming in at seventh place is David Fincher’s The Social Network. Critically lauded, it has earned more than $110 million worldwide after five weeks. Setting its sights on $80 million in the U.S., the film will most likely miss eclipsing the $100 million mark.

Still hanging around in the top ten is Katherine Heigl’s Life As We Know It. Just another middling comedy for the actress who has had a pair of $40 million comedies this year. To compare, last year’s Ugly Truth with Heigl and Gerard Butler made $205 million worldwide. Heigl, you’re entering Ben Affleck territory pre-Gone Baby Gone. Either pick better scripts or tell Judd Apatow that you’re sorry and realize that Knocked Up was the best thing that happened to your career. Remember, the role was initially Anne Hathaway’s.

Showing strong legs in its seventh week of release is Ben Affleck’s The Town. The $37 million movie is inching ever so close to $90 million – just $3 million away. No sophomore slump for this guy. And with the news that he may direct Ken Grimwood’s Replay next, a title that Warner Bros. has wanted to do for close to twenty years now, you can bet that the studio will give The Town a considerable push for Oscar consideration in the next several months. The studio also has Christopher Nolan’s Inception to think about as well.

Squeaking in to finish the top ten is Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell’s Conviction. With a 502% boost in attendance due to an additional 510 screens, it was able to clear $1.8 million.

As far as the arthouse goes, the final chapter of the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, made $915k on 153 screens. The Kristin Stewart movie that isn’t related to Twilight, Welcome to the Rileys opened on 10 screens to a disappointing $45k. On a brighter note, Gareth Edward‘s Monsters cleared $21k from three screens.

Box Office Estimates taken from

1. Saw 3D – $22.5 million
2. Paranormal Activity 2 – $16.5 million ($65.6 million overall)
3. Red – $10.8 million ($58.9 million overall)
4. Jackass 3D – $8.4 million ($101.5 million overall)
5. Hereafter – $6.3 million ($22.1 million overall)
6. Secretariat – $5 million ($44.7 million overall)
7. The Social Network – $4.7 million ($111 million worldwide)
8. Life As We Know It – $4 million ($43.4 million)
9. The Town – $1.9 million ($87.6 million)
10. Conviction – $1.8 million ($2.3 million)

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