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Will This be the Last We See of Saw?

October 27th, 2006

There's only one true wide release of the week, Saw III. But it has a small chance of earning more this weekend than all four wide releases earned last weekend.

Saw III is the third film in the Saw franchise and it is coming out just in time for Halloween. The first two films earned enough during their opening day to pay for their production budgets. This time around it will have to wait until the end of the weekend before it does that. This is partially because of the its greatly increasing production budget (which has now reached $10 million), and partially because the popularity of the series seems to have peaked last time around. Currently the film is tracking in the low to mid 30s, which is almost exactly what the second film earned last year, but with reviews that are expected to be quite weak the film's legs are likely to be equally as weak. Look for $33 million over the weekend (and $4 million on Halloween), while it should end its run at about $85 million. On the other hand, there's a definite possibility the film will struggle with just over $20 million for the weekend and $50 million during its run. If that is the case, this could be the last film in the Saw franchise, or at least the last one to earn a theatrical release.

Agree? Disagree? Put your prognosticating to the test and enter our latest contest today.

The Departed looks to remain in second place over the weekend, and the longer it lasts in theaters the better its Oscar chances are. While there's no rule that films have to be box office champs to win Oscars, they have to be seen to get nominated. In fact, over the past nine years, only one film has become a Best Picture Winner while not cracking $100 million at the box office. With just over $9 million over the weekend The Departed's running tally will be lifted to $91 million, putting it well on its way to that important milestone. On the other hand, some won't consider the film a real success unless it takes home some serious hardware during Awards Season.

The Prestige will be close behind with just under $9 million, putting its theatrical total at about $27 million. This would already be more than original expectations and well on its way to matching its production budget. It's far from showing a profit domestically, but it should get there by its initial push into the home market, if not sooner.

After missing expectations last weekend, Flags of Our Fathers hopes that this weekend doesn't show them a steep decline. The film certainly has some things going for it including the strong reviews, mature target audience, and Clint Eastwood's recent history, not to mention a rather significant increase in its theater count this weekend. Tracking has the film earning between $6 million and $7 million with the high end being slightly more likely than the low end.

Rounding out the top five should be the unstoppable Open Season. This should be the film's fifth weekend in the top five and during that time it has never dropped more than 34%. Should it maintain that pace it will earn about $5.5 million this weekend giving it $77 million after a month of release and that will put it ahead of Jackass: Number Two for biggest hit of September.

Finally we have Catch A Fire, which is only playing in a hair more than 1,300 theaters this weekend. Even with good reviews, this obvious Oscar bait is going to have a hard time landing an audience. A placing in the top five is not out of the question, but it seems less and less likely. Look for an opening weekend of between $4 and $5 million with a total of $15 million when all is said and done.

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Filed under: The Departed, Open Season, Saw III, The Prestige, Flags of Our Fathers, Catch a Fire