postSunday, 28 October 2007

Saw IV - Seen a Lot

Saw 4 had a big opening, will there be a Saw 5?Jigsaw is back and he's making box office analysts look like a bunch of corpses.Saw 4 opens bigBox Office analysts have been saying for months that the Saw franchise has burnt out and that Saw IV would have a drastic drop in it’s opening tally. Figures between $18-$22 million were the general estimates going into this weekend.

But now Jigsaw has blown those figures out of the water with a $14 million Friday and early estimates of $33.3 million for the weekend. That puts it in place to possibly take the Saw crown away from Saw III, which had a $33.6 million opening last year.

I am not surprised at all by this result; I have been expecting a mammoth weekend for a while now. The tracking that came in this week was the only thing that caused some doubt in my mind. Now lets sum up why analysts thought Saw IV was going to disappoint and why they were wrong.

Torture Porn is Dead:

The horror genre got an upsurge in 2004 from the original Saw when it began a trend that is now known as torture porn (this can be debated torture porn is not necessarily new, also other films can be argued as the starting point). The trend resulted in three Saw movies, Hostel and The Hills Have Eyes, which were all hits. This year, however, a number of torture porn releases failed to impress. This included the massive drops from franchise heavy weights Hostel 2 and The Hills Have Eyes 2.

There definitely is a lack of interest in the genre but the Saw films are in a different league from the other torture films. Firstly, even the first Saw ($55m) was far more successful than the nearest torture porn rivals (Hostel - $47m, Hills - $41m). In addition these two films achieved impressive grosses from other means. Hostel (which was crap) was marketed under the Quinton Tarantino name and many teenagers mistook Hills as the movie adaptation of MTV’s The Hills (this is probably not true). Thus torture porn is dead and probably never even reached the heights that it was hyped up to. Saw on the other hand is a well-established franchise that makes it stand out from the genre as a whole.

The Series has been Descending in Quality:

Many argue that the first Saw was unbelievably original and since then the franchise has been relying on increasing the gore/torture factor while becoming more and more of a sixth day violation.

For me Saw was never that original, ever heard of a little Fincher film called Seven? And in terms of Saw fans they are almost split down the middle over which is better, Saw or Saw II. There are even some who champion Saw III. The most important thing to remember is that the franchise has progressed and developed a complex protagonist who many view as the greatest villain of the new millennium. Jigsaw kicks ass and each movie has done a good job of adding to the character making any Saw film with Tobin Bell a must see.

Position, Position, Position:

The film has marked off the Halloween weekend as it’s designated landing point for the last four years. There is no better time for a horror film to launch and the Saw franchise has become a Halloween tradition.

Plus each film has been release a year apart making it hard for another franchise to some in and block it from the weekend, while at the same time keeping interest high.

Saw IV though will probably have bigger drops than the previous sequels. I'm looking for a finish just north of $75 million. I will have to see it before I comment on the possible success of Saw V.

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