The Saw horror movie franchise returns to theaters after a lengthy, multi-year hiatus. The name change to Jigsaw suggests the film isn’t a complete direct sequel. Nor is the film a reboot. A new series based on the events of the first film launches with the arrival of Jigsaw. The film opened to number one at the box office, but the take of $16 million doesn’t exactly indicate a major hit.
The film won’t pull in more than $80 million at the domestic box office. The Saw franchise long lost the ability to deliver those numbers. Jigsaw may end its domestic run at around $30 million, which would indicate a disappointment. It shouldn’t. Industry insiders suggest the film will surely be profitable for Lionsgate. The budget for Jigsaw lists at a meager $10 million. A debut of $16 million in the United States along with $9 million overseas suggests the film clearly is going to turn a profit.
And then there are DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD demand sales to come. Television and cable rights factor in as well. If Jigsaw pulls in $60 million at the worldwide box office, the film might earn less than hoped but it won’t lose money. As long as the films are produced with reasonable budgets, the Saw franchise likely will continue.
Jigsaw’s $16 million opening may not be blockbuster level, but 2017 was a horrible year for theatrical releases. Stephen King’s It was a surprise blockbuster, but the motion picture landscape has been cluttered with failures. Blade Runner 2049 and Geostorm stand as two of the biggest flops. Lower budgeted fare such as Jackie Chan’s The Foreigner delivered marginal box office returns. A $35 million budget hurts that film. The Foreigner gets an assist from foreign box office, which is currently more than $80 million.
Although a few famous exceptions exist, horror movies rarely turn into blockbusters. The genre thrives on low-budget films that turn a profit thanks to the core base of horror fans, mostly teenagers, turning out to buy tickets on opening weekends. Horror movies commonly open big and then fade quickly in weeks two and three. Stephen King’s It stands as an obvious exception, but the box office legs of the film really do reflect an exception.
Another installment in the Saw/Jigsaw franchise will be made at some point. Lionsgate and Rob Zombie agreed on making a follow-up to The Devil’s Rejects, a film that came out 12 years ago and earned far less than Jigsaw.