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Box office: 'Saw 3D' beats 'Paranormal Activity 2' in final act of vengeance [updated]

Saw3D The series that began the modern torture-horror genre staged a small comeback.

With no other new competition on Halloween weekend, "Saw 3D" opened to $24.2 million, according to an estimate from distributor Lionsgate. It easily beat "Paranormal Activity 2," which on its second weekend in theaters dropped a hefty 59% to $16.5 million.

Last year, the first "Paranormal Activity" beat "Saw VI" in an embarrassing defeat for Lionsgate.

This year's entry, advertised as the finale, did significantly better than "Saw VI," which opened to a weak $14.1 million. However, it didn't bring the series back to its former heights. "Saw II" through "Saw V," released from 2005 to 2008, all took in between $30 million and $34 million on their debut weekends. And those movies didn't have the benefit of 3-D ticket price surcharges, which provided a sizable advantage to this year's installment. 92% of its ticket sales came from the 75% of theaters showing it in 3-D.

Previous annual sequels also cost less, typically coming in with a budget of about $11 million. Due in large part to the fact that it was shot in 3-D, this year's "Saw" cost Lionsgate about $20 million.

Still, the not-great-but-still-good debut demonstrated that despite the failure of "Saw VI," the series hasn't lost all its mojo. If it follows the pattern of previous "Saw" films, which disappeared quickly from theaters since most of the young audience comes on opening weekend, "3D" should end up with a domestic gross of about $50 million.

[Update, 10:50 a.m.: In Great Britain, the only foreign territory where Lionsgate is distributing the movie, "Saw 3D" set a new franchise record. It opened to $5.3 million, 30% better than the previous best British debut for the series, 2006's "Saw III"]

Conviction The only other film to make a major move in the marketplace was the Hillary Swank drama "Conviction," which expanded from 55 to 565 theaters across the country. The adaptation of a real-life story about a woman determined to free her brother from jail collected a weak $1.8 million.

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," based on the last installment of the bestselling book trilogy, opened to an unimpressive $735,000 at 121 theaters.

The James Gandolfini-Kristen Stewart independent drama "Welcome to the Rileys" launched in 10 theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Boston to a soft $45,000.

The adult action film "Red" and inspirational drama "Secretariat" both continue to hold extremely well. Ticket sales for both declined only 28%. On its third weekend in theaters "Red" brought in $10.8 million, while "Secretariat" collected $5.1 million on its fourth weekend.

On its second weekend in theaters, the Clint Eastwood-directed drama “Hereafter” declined 47% to $6.3 million. That’s better than the prolific director’s last movie, “Invictus,” which dropped 51% on its second weekend, but worse than 2008’s “Changeling, which also debuted in October and took a second weekend hit of only 22%.

[Update, 10:50 a.m.: Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, with international ticket sales when available, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:

1. "Saw 3D" (Lionsgate): Opened to $24.2 milion.

2. "Paranormal Activity 2" (Paramount): $16.5 million on its second weekend, down 59%. Domestic total: $65.7 million. In Great Britain, opened to $5.3 million.

3. "Red" (Summit): $10.8 million on its third weekend, down 28%. Domestic total: $58.9 million.

4. "Jackass 3-D" (Paramount): $8.4 million on its third weekend, down 60%. Domestic total: $101.6 million.

5. "Hereafter" (Warner Bros.): $6.3 million on its third weekend (second in wide release), down 47%. Domestic total: $22.2 million.

6. "Secretariat" (Disney): $5.1 million on its fourth weekend, down 28%. Domestic total: $44.8 million.

7. "The Social Network" (Sony/Relativity): $4.7 million on its fifth weekend, down 35%. Domestic total: $79.7 million. $14 million overseas in 50 foreign markets. International total: $51 million.

8. "Life As We Know It" (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow): $4 million on its fourth weekend, down 35%. Domestic total: $43.5 million. $5.8 million overseas in 27 foreign markets. International total: $26.9 million.

9. "The Town" (Warner Bros./Legendary): $2 million on its seventh weekend, down 29%. Domestic total: $87.6 million. $6 million overseas in 40 foreign markts. International total: $42.5 million.

10. "Conviction" (Fox Searchlight): $1.8 million on its third weekend (first in nation-wide release). Domestic total: $2.4 million.]

-- Ben Fritz

Top photo: Chester Bennington in "Saw 3D." Credit: Brooke Palmer / Lionsgate. Bottom photo: Hillary Swank and Sam Rockwell in "Conviction." Credit: Ron Batzdorff / Fox Searchlight.

Comments () | Archives (5)

You call the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest unimpressive, yet it averaged over $6,000 per screen compared to Welcome to the Riley's $4,500 per screen average, and it was only characterized as soft. I would say WTTR's opening was worse than unimpressive and another indication that having Kristen Stewart in an indy film is a sure fire way to guarantee that no one goes to see it. Her fans haven't supported The Runaways or any other indy she's been in. Without Twilight she'd be nowhere.

Don't waste your time or money going to see Welcome To The Riley's. While Gandolfini and Leo do a great job, Stewart ruins the whole dynamic of the movie. Kristen Stewart doesn't connect with either co-star and really doesn't with the audience. Wait and see it on cable. Maybe Hollywood will finally get it Kristen Stewart is a good Bella for all these youngsters but she cannot pull off a role that has any substance to it. I've seen 7 movies with her in it and it's literally like she walks from set to set changing clothes, hair and other props but never is her expressions, stammering, shrugging, lip biting and eyes furrowed ever any different. Kristen doesn't get that acting comes from the soul not dirty fingernails and hair. I will say she gets into trying to look the part but her performance is so flat that she keeps ruining movies.

Is a mega film, will be a great sucess,from public end critic, the special efects
are sensation , top

Paranormal activity can drop all it wants....with a budget of only 3 million its already made a 2116% return to Paramount. Obviously the first one had a higher percentage, but this was a true studio production with union level labor costs and such, still a huge money maker. Its pure profit from here out.

Guess I'm confused. Paranormal Activity and Saw both had a British opening weekend of $5.3 million each? Or is this yet another case of the LA Times not hiring people who know how to edit copy?


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