"If it's Halloween, it must be Saw."
Lionsgate is banking that moviegoers will remember that old adage this weekend, when the 2004 horror classic is re-released in to over 2,000 theaters.
The original Saw opened to a surprising $18.3 million on this weekend 10 years ago, and spawned a franchise that ruled the next four Halloweens. The first sequel (Saw II) was the highest-grossing installment with $87 million; grosses progressively declined to Saw V, which earned $56.7 million.
All good things must eventually end, though, and Saw VI got stomped by word-of-mouth sensation Paranormal Activity in October 2009. The movie dropped around 50 percent from the previous installment, which led to a franchise-low $27.7 million gross. The following year, Saw 3D recovered to $45.7 million, though that was thanks to the addition of 3D pricing (during 3D's peak) and a "final chapter" bump.
Re-releases have been a hit-or-miss endeavor lately. 3D re-releases for The Lion King, Jurassic Park, Finding Nemo, Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace and Titanic all earned at least $40 million, which is impressive for movies that are widely available for home viewing.
The Saw re-release doesn't have the 3D value-add, though, and will likely wind up closer to recent 2D-only re-releases. Raiders of the Lost Ark (IMAX) and Ghostbusters (30th Anniversary re-release) both wrapped up between $3 and $3.5 million.
Saw 10th Anniversary will benefit from a wider release (2,063 theaters) and a well-timed Halloween debut. Still, horror fans have moved on to new franchises like The Conjuring and Insidious in recent years; even Saw's replacement, Paranormal Activity, has become passe. Are horror fans really eager to revisit the Saw franchise?
With a light, targeted marketing effort, a weekend in the $3-to-$5 million range seems likely here.
Nicole Kidman/Colin Firth thriller Before I Go To Sleep opens at 1,902 theaters this weekend. The movie is the third release from Clarius Entertainment, the upstart distributor behind And So It Goes ($15.2 million) and Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return ($8.5 million).
And So It Goes opened to $4.6 million in slightly fewer theaters. Still, the grim Before I Go to Sleep doesn't seem as immediately appealing as that geriatric comedy. An opening in the $2-to-$4 million range is a safe bet.
Daniel Radcliffe's Horns opens in limited release this weekend. Radcliffe's last two movies, What If (2014) and Kill Your Darlings, earned $3.5 million and $1.03 million, respectively; with its day-and-date VOD release, Horns will likely wind up on the lower end of that range (if it gets there at all).
Forecast (October 31—November 2)
1. Nightcrawler - $15 million
2. John Wick - $8.2 million (-43%)
3. Fury - $8 million (-40%)
4. Ouija - $7.7 million (-61%)
5. Gone Girl - $7 million (-37%)
-. Saw 10th Anniversary - $5.2 million
-. Before I Go to Sleep - $3.5 million
Bar for Success
Nightcrawler is a modest release from a mid-major studio; anything above $10 million is fine. Saw 10th Anniversary is in good shape if it can hit $5 million this weekend, while Before I Go to Sleep also ought to be reaching $5 million.
Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.
• Last Weekend's Report: Decent Debuts from 'Ouija,' 'Wick' This Weekend
• Last Weekend's Forecast: 'Ouija' Set to Spook 'John Wick' This Weekend