Jigsaw topped the box office this weekend, but still came in as one of the weakest films in the franchise. It’s been a tremendous year for horror movies, as seen by the huge box office success of IT, and this pre-Halloween weekend was another chance for the genre to dominate. Much was this expected of Jigsaw, the return of the Saw franchise after a six-year hiatus from cinemas.
Although the Saw franchise has never been a favorite of critics, with each movie getting worse and worse reviews, the series has still managed to pull in the crowds and make decent returns over the years. Aside from the first Saw and Saw VI, each film in the franchise has managed to earn more than $20 million at opening – impressive considering the typically low budgets. Saw 8 did show the traps and tricks can still bring the goods, although it’s a muted success.
Per Variety, Jigsaw made $16.3 million on its opening weekend. This is a solid start that saw it top the box office, but puts it well behind the rest of the Saw franchise; the only movie to make less in its first frame was Saw VI, which made $14.1 million in 2009 ($16.2 million in 2017 money).
Jigsaw has been estimated to hit the $20 million mark on its opening weekend, so this take will be considered by some as a disappointment. Quite why the reaction was so tepid is unclear, although it’s worth observing that the film didn’t see quite as much buzz around it as previous entries in the series, something particularly damaging given the hope the franchise’s hiatus would renew interest.
This could thus be more of an indictment of the Saw brand as a whole than of Jigsaw on its own. It’s fair to say that the horror environment has changed considerably since Saw was at its peak, with traditional chills overtaking torture-based horror in terms of popularity. Just this year The Conjuring franchise has now passed $1 billion at worldwide box office, while IT‘s success shows that mainstream audiences may want something different from what the Saw movies provide.
That said, Jigsaw was still ultimately top dog this weekend and did so on a slight $10 million, so this isn’t a failure by any stretch. Whether that’s enough to warrant another sequel, however, is up in the air.
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