The Movie: 'Saw 3D,' the seventh and supposedly final film in the gruesome, exceedingly profitable horror franchise, directed by Kevin Greutert (who edited the first five films and directed the last two), and once again starring series stalwart Tobin Bell, despite his character having been dead since the end of 'Saw III.' It is the first 'Saw' film to be offered in 3D.
The Target Audience: With the movie apparently being completely (instead of just mildly) incomprehensible to those who haven't seen its predecessors, it's safe to say that the target audience here is "fans of the 'Saw' franchise."
The Competition: For the second weekend in a row, a horror film has opened without any competition from other new wide releases. With 'Saw' having pretty much owned the last six Halloweens (except maybe last year, when the first 'Paranormal Activity' got in the way), the rest of Hollywood apparently decided to let it have the weekend to itself. Mainly, then, the movie had to deal with 'Paranormal Activity 2,' last weekend's horror holdover, which took a significant, if largely expected, tumble from its impressive opening. The full weekend chart is available in Moviefone's Box Office Report.
The Number: $24.2 million – about right for the last hurrah of an extremely successful but waning franchise. That number puts 'Saw 3D' fifth out of seven, ahead of the first film and the sixth (which managed to gross only $27 million total). These movies are so comparatively inexpensive – the budget for 'Saw 3D' is reported to be around $20 million, the highest yet – that it doesn't take much in the way of box office success to make them worthwhile endeavors. (This is why there are so damn many horror films hitting multiplexes week after week.) Additionally, the ultra-gruesome horror trend is not just an American thing (as the French, at least, have repeatedly proved), and the 'Saw' films actually perform quite well overseas. Long story short: I'll believe the "final chapter" thing when I don't see another 'Saw' film for three Halloweens running.
Staying Power: Ha! The only thing more impressive than the 'Saw' series longevity year-to-year is its lack of longevity week-to-week. The movies regularly take second weekend falls of 65% or more, and the last three films ended up grossing around twice their opening weekend takes. Expect a repeat, and a final gross of around $50 million.
Do you think this is really the last entry in the 'Saw' franchise?