If you woke up this Saturday and looked at the box office returns from Friday, you probably noticed something strange. Saw V was cheerfully occupying the top spot despite having slid a whopping 78% from the previous Friday. Last weekend's winner, High School Musical 3, was sitting at number five with $1.7 million, a 90% drop. Ninety percent? What the hell is going on here?

Then you probably thought about it for a second and palm-smacked your forehead. Friday, of course, was October 31st, which meant that virtually all of HSM's target audience was out trick-or-treating. Some comparatively smaller percentage of Saw fans was out partying, or whatever it is the kids are doing these days. HSM recovered admirably, leapfrogging back into first, but Halloween still hurt: that 65% drop isn't great for a kidflick, though it's more in line with the pattern of eagerly awaited franchise sequels. We'll see what happens next week.

As for Saw V, it's currently running about $5 million behind its immediate predecessor, although the Halloween Friday took its toll here too -- it's probably fair to call them even at this point. Even if Saw V continues the franchise's declining trend, it's still a cash cow. My guess is we'll see a couple more theatrical sequels, and then infinite direct-to-DVD entries. Jigsaw will never die.

There were some newcomers. Zack and Miri Make a Porno's $10.7 million take was roughly in line with Kevin Smith's best showings; only 2001's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back fared better, and barely at that. (It's probably worth noting that this is also by far the worst opening for a film starring Seth Rogen.) Changeling respectably, if unspectacularly, expanded to 1,850 screens, landing in fourth with $9.4 million. That would be more auspicious if the film were expected to be an awards player, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The Haunting of Molly Hartley, a horror offering for the tween set, actually managed an okay $6 million -- not bad when you don't even have a real distributor.

The full estimates after the jump.


1 - High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Disney) - $15.04 ($4,146) - $61.75
2 - Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Weinstein) - $10.68 ($3,096) - $10.68
3 - Saw V (Lionsgate) - $10.11 ($3,278) - $45.84
4 - Changeling (Universal) - $9.41 ($5,805) - $10.09
5 - The Haunting of Molly Hartley (Freestyle) - $6.01 ($2,266) - $6.01
6 - Beverly Hills Chihuahua (Disney) - $4.75 ($1,580) - $84.06
7 - The Secret Life of Bees (Fox Searchlight) - $4.00 ($2,483) - $25.29
8 - Max Payne (Fox) - $3.70 ($1,443) - $35.55
9 - Eagle Eye (Dreamworks/Paramount) - $3.40 ($1,694) - $92.53
10 - Pride & Glory (New Line) - $2.26 ($1,261) - $11.62

Next week is the relative calm before the Quantum storm, with Madagascar 2 and the R-rated Role Models and Soul Men (not quite Bernie Mac's last) making their bows. Should be easy pickings for the cartoon.