Once upon a time the Saw franchise was the king of the horror box office, as the movie calendar made ample room for each gory installment – every single year. However, last year Saw VI made considerably less than the previous films ($64 million worldwide), when it opened on the same weekend as Paranormal Activity expanded its release. The dip was an early indicator that audiences were getting fed-up with Jigsaw’s twisted games.

However, in an attempt to spark new interest, Saw 3D (formerly Saw VII) is making the jump to the third dimension for the grisly proceedings. Only time will tell whether the format will add to the experience – or detract from it. Audiences could look forward to seeing Saw 3D in theaters on October 22nd, which meant the film would have had stiff competition from Paranormal Activity 2. Now, it appears that Jigsaw is running in fear.

Lionsgate has officially announced that Saw 3D will now hit theaters a week later than it was perviously scheduled, on October 29th. That means that the new kid on the block, Paranormal Activity, has scared off the reigning horror box office champion.

Who’d have thought?

If you’ve been keeping up with the “battle” between Saw 3D and Paranormal Activity 2, you’ll probably be aware that it all started when Saw VI director, Kevin Greutert signed on to direct the Paranormal sequel. However, not long after, he was forced (much to his dismay) because of contractual obligations to switch back to the Saw franchise for a seventh film.

Kevin Greutert on the set of Saw VI - "One Saw movie and I'm done, right?"

The face-off between the two horror franchises was then solidified when Paranormal Activity 2 set a release date of October 22nd, the exact same day as Saw 3D. It was basically the film equivalent of one movie declaring war on another!

Now, with a new release date for Saw 3D, the films don’t have to worry about splitting potential audiences down the middle (no pun intended) – and audiences can easily see both films without the worry of having to choose.

As a result, the question switches to, “which movie will make more money?” Considering the first Paranormal Activity made over $100 million on a microscopic budget of $15,000, and the Saw franchise box office performance has been steadily dwindling with the last three movies, it’s easy to assume that Paranormal Activity 2 will win out.

However, with the seventh Saw adding 3D into the mix – it may cause the film to win out based purely on the higher ticket prices. Maybe, we’ll see the Paranormal Activity sequel jump onto the 3D bandwagon to compensate? Though, we certainly hope not. In a world where 3D is more popular (read: prolific) than it’s ever been, I wouldn’t die of shock if the movie went that route.

In case you missed them, check out the first teaser trailer and poster for Saw 3D which were revealed yesterday. Also, producer Oren Koules claimed at this year’s Comic Con that this will be the last film in the franchise – we can only hope he’s telling the truth!

Saw 3D will now open in theaters on October 29th, 2010.

Paranormal Activity 2 will be released on October 22nd, 2010.

Source: Variety