2010 Preview: Saw VII (in 3D)

by Ray Subers

February 8, 2010

Release Date: Oct. 22
Studio: Lionsgate
Genre: Horror
Director: Kevin Greutert
Writer: Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton
Cast: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Tanedra Howard
Studio Description: Not Available

Analysis: For its first five movies, the Saw series owned Halloween, with Saw II through Saw V all grossing over $30 million. It got to the point where promos boasted that "If it's Halloween, it must be Saw." However, the grosses became increasingly frontloaded as the years went on and as the quality of the movies decreased. Then last year, thanks to lazy advertising and unusually strong competition in surprise horror hit Paranormal Activity, Saw VI flopped in the pre-Halloween slot, ending up with a $14.1 million opening weekend on its way to a measly total of $27.7 million.

Recognizing that the formula had grown tired, producers decided to spice things up a bit for the seventh installment by adding 3D. That technique worked last year for the Final Destination series. Fourth installment, The Final Destination, was released in 3D and went on to become the franchise's highest-grossing entry with $66.5 million. With the Final Destination series, though, audiences believed there were still more thrills to be had. Based on Saw VI's measly earnings, it remains to be seen whether people also believe this to be true of the Saw series.

While Saw VII is mixing up the formula a bit with 3D, it is once again scheduled for the weekend before Halloween. This has worked so well for horror movies in the past, though, that the sequel to Saw VI killer Paranormal Activity is currently scheduled for the same weekend. It is unlikely that both ultimately open on Oct. 22, but the makers of Paranormal Activity 2 appear to have the upper hand in the battle over the date, considering the first movie grossed $107.9 million last year. If Saw VII is forced to move away from Halloween, horror fans may not move with it. While the combination of higher 3D ticket prices and the opportunity to experience all the blood and guts in an extra dimension should help Saw VII regain some of the box office strength of the previous entries, its going to have a tough time reestablishing Saw as a bankable franchise for Lionsgate.

Related Stories:
'Paranormal' Rages, 'Saw' Dulls
'High School Musical' Cuts Footloose with 'Saw'
'Saw IV' Loses Little Blood

Similar Movies: Saw, Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, The Final Destination

Related Charts: Series: Saw; Showdown: 'Saw' v.' Saw'; Horror-Torture; Thriller—Serial Killer; 3D

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2010 Preview

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