Hopefully three wide releases can wake up what’s been a relatively sleepy time at the box office, ratcheted down by the SAG-AFTRA strike. With New Regency/20th Century Studios/Disney’s original Gareth Edwards sci-fi movie The Creator, Paramount and Spin Master’s PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie and Lionsgate’s Saw X, the top three movies look to make around $45M.
All three of them are vying for No. 1 with a take in the high-teen millions, but it’s likely a two-way race between PAW Patrol 2 and The Creator since both pics have had the loudest marketing campaigns and Lionsgate usually executes its smaller-budgeted movies on the cheap.
Wait, there’s four wide releases this weekend: Sony’s Dumb Money is expanding but only is expected to do in the single digits.
The Creator and Saw X held previews Thursday night, while PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie skipped because it’s matinee draw on the weekend while school is in session. Coming off Wednesday night premium screenings and Thursday night shows that began at 6 p.m., The Creator earned $1.6M, while Saw X saw $2M. The horror sequel saw a big turnout among Latino and Hispanic moviegoers at 41%.
That’s a slow start for The Creator considering that figure includes Wednesday shows for the $80M production completely financed by New Regency. The sci-fi pic has all the blasters of premium ticket sales in Imax, ScreenX, 4D, etc., amid an overall theater count of 3,680.
Saw X‘s preview figure is ahead of that of the previous two Saw titles: Spiral did $750K in 2021 and Jigsaw made $1.6M in 20167. Jigsaw‘s Thursday repped 23% of its Friday total, which turned into a $16.6M opening and a $38M final domestic.
What remains is to be seen how both older-guy movies were frontloaded with fans Thursday night. The plus for PAW Patrol 2 is that it’s the first family animated movie since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem in early August, but it’s sequel that appeals to kids in diapers and preschool.
In Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits, Saw X gets a 78% grade, Creator is 78%, and Dumb Money is 87%. Creator leaned more guy Thursday night than Saw X, 72% to 61%.
Tracking had Saw X way ahead at $20M since it’s the first franchise pic with Saw in the title since 2010’s Saw 3D. The previous movie, Spiral, bottomed out to a franchise-low opening of $8.75M and a $23.2M domestic take. Lionsgate lifted the review embargo late in the game on Saw X, and it turned out that the sequel at 85% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is the best critical rating for the franchise ever. The $13M production plays at 3,262 theaters, the widest ever for a Saw movie. Through nine movies to date, the franchise has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and is one of the longest running horror franchises in cinema history.
Creator‘s previews are being comped to last year’s The Woman King ($1.7M, $19.1M opening in ), 2019’s Gemini Man ($1.6M, $20.6M opening), 2016’s Arrival ($1.5M, $24.1M opening) and 2019’s Ad Astra ($1.5M, $19M opening). Critics aren’t entirely over the moon about Creator at 68% fresh next to the Brad Pitt-led 83% certified fresh Ad Astra and Amy Adams-Jeremy Renner led Arrival, which was 94% certified fresh on RT.