Weekend Wrap-Up for October 26-28, 2007

Groundhog Day at Halloween Box Office

By John Hamann

October 28, 2007

We miss Gilmore Girls.

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It was a complete repeat of last year at the box office this weekend, as not only did another Saw film rule at the box office, but its returns were very similar to last year's grosses for the torture porn spectacular. Lionsgate rolled out Saw IV over the Halloween box office weekend to predictably decent results, while Disney's Dan in Real Life did okay business via a moderate venue count. As far as holdovers go it was pretty humdrum - last weekend's horror flick got pummeled, while The Rock's family flick continued to hold well.

The number one film of the weekend is Saw IV, the fourth movie in the sadistic horror series. Saw IV opened to $32.1 million this weekend from 3,183 venues. It had a venue average of $10,088. Some analysts (including me) had thought the shine had come of the Saw somewhat, and that this one wouldn't equal the $33.6 million and $31.7 million that Saw III and Saw II opened to respectively (can this audience even deal with the roman numerals?). The opening take shows that the Saw franchise has reached its peak, and can't find an audience beyond those already tuned in for the macabre blood fest. Lionsgate doesn't care. The first three films combined have earned $420 million worldwide, and Saw IV should add another $170 million to that total. The first three Saw films cost Lionsgate less than $20 million to produce, so for a $30 million investment (albeit less marketing and print costs), Lionsgate will have ticket sales good for 20 times their investment. The studio doesn't put the Saw films out for review. They always tank in their second weekend, and probably aren't good for the teens of today. Still, you can still expect to see another Saw movie next year, and the year after that, and the year - well, you get my point. The only thing keeping the cash registers ringing at Lionsgate these days are Tyler Perry and the Saw franchises, so don't expect the fat suits and torture porn to disappear quite yet.


Finishing second is another new release, Dan in Real Life with Steve Carell. Dan in Real Life looked tired before getting to movie screens, but was still able to pull in $12.1 million from a slim venue count of 1,921. It had a venue average of $6,289. After Carell crashed and burned with Evan Almighty, I wondered if this wonder bread comedy would draw audiences, and it did to a point, but is certainly no breakout success. Critics were mixed to the good side, as Dan in Real Life received a 62% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. While this one is (currently) fresh, critics found it pleasant but unremarkable, leaving this one forgotten in about two weekends. Carell is going to have to pick it up somewhat with his next few releases, or be destined for sitcoms for his acting career. Next up for the 40-Year Old Virgin is Horton Hears a Who, an animated Dr. Seuss flick starring Jim Carrey as Horton, and then will follow that up with Get Smart for director Peter Segal.

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