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Have Audiences Seen Too Much Saw?

October 25th, 2007

It's the last chance for October to make a splash at the box office. On the one hand, Saw IV is opening, and it should be the biggest hit of the Fall so far. On the other hand, it is tracking more weakly than Saw III, which opened this weekend last year.

As the ads say, if it's Halloween, it must be Saw. ... That's a terrible marketing campaign, as it feels like it is based on inertia more than the film itself. "Well, you saw the last three, you might as well see the this one as well." On the other hand, it seems like inertia is all Saw IV has going for it. The reviews are nonexistent, the ads barely mention the movie (only to explain that Jigsaw is indeed dead), and the buzz seems weaker than last time. That said, it should have no difficulty earning the biggest opening of the month and the best opening since Superbad started its run in mid-August. However, given the unpredictability in the marketplace at the moment, the film could earn $50 million, or even $15 million, and it wouldn't shock me at all. The lower end of expectations seems more likely, simply because of the general weakness at the box office, but it should still top $30 million during its opening weekend, but it could be very close.

The only other new release of the week is Dan in Real Life starring Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, and Dane Cook. As counter-programming, the film should find an audience this weekend, but with a target demographic that is older than the average, it will need to do better than 60% positive reviews to have legs. Good news, the film is opening in 1,921 theaters, which is about 200 more than expected and that implies the studio and theater owners have faith in the movie's box office chances. If everything works out, it could reach $10 million over the weekend, but $8 million is a safer prediction.

Two holdovers, 30 Days of Night and Why Did I Get Married, will battle for third place, each aiming to earn $7 million at the box office. 30 Days of Night does have a lead over Why Did I Get Married?, both during last weekend and during the daily numbers, and even earned better reviews. However, 30 Days of Night has direct competition and a genre that is not known for strong legs. This will likely result in a nearly 60% drop-off giving it just under $7 million over the weekend. On the other hand, Why Did I Get Married? will hold onto close to 60% of its box office giving it just over $7 million over the weekend.

Finally, The Game Plan is aiming for its fifth weekend in the top five and should get there with just under $6 million. This would give the film $76 million after a month of release and keep it on pace to hit $100 million in total. However, that final figure is not solid as direct competition launches next weekend and that could knock it off the tracks. For comparison, Open Season earned $77 million at the same point in its run after bringing in just under $6 million during its fifth week of release, and it only managed $7 million during the rest of its run.

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Filed under: The Game Plan, Saw IV, Why Did I Get Married?, Dan in Real Life, 30 Days of Night