Paw defeats Saw while The Creator underperforms

Jigsaw was no match for animated puppies as Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie took first place while Saw X saw a solid second place debut.

Two new releases and one wide expansion were no match for the animated puppies of Paw Patrol as their newest movie Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie easily snagged first place with $23 million. That number represents a nearly $10 million increase over the $13.1 million earned by 2021’s Paw Patrol: The Movie in its debut. It would seem this sequel has earned its mighty moniker.

The film has garnered some solid critical reviews with the consensus being that this movie is a great way to introduce younger audiences to the big screen experience while the parents of those younger audience members took to the internet to propel the film to a solid 94% audience score and a great A cinemascore. With no family films hitting screens until November 17 when Trolls Band Together opens, you can expect this one to have decent legs, although I don’t expect it to play as well as other recent animated hits as I think Paw Patrol has a bit more of a limited audience appeal than things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Super Mario Bros. 

Coming in second place is the best reviewed new movie of the week… Saw X! That’s right, the tenth Saw film has officially become the first film in the franchise to receive majority positive reviews (including a 7/10 from our own Tyler Nichols) with a Rotten Tomatoes score that is nearly 80% better than the worst reviewed movie of the franchise (the 9% earned by Saw: The Final Chapter). With an awards worthy performance by franchise mainstay (despite being killed off in the third movie) Tobin Bell, Saw X was able to secure a solid $18 million debut. Despite that number being a bit softer than the first batch of movies (Saw’s 2-5 all opened with over $30 million with Saw III having the best opening of the franchise at $33.6 million. Part VI started to see diminishing returns for the franchise with the last Saw adjacent film 2021’s Spiral: From The Book of Saw opening with a franchise worst $8.7 million, although that one opened at a time when people weren’t rushing out to theaters due to a global pandemic), it is actually a really solid opening number for a film that reportedly cost just $13 million. 

Third place belongs to Gareth Edwards’ The Creator with an estimated $14 million. Reviews for the John David Washington fronted film have ranged from calling it a modern sci-fi classic (including the 8/10 review from Chris Bumbray) to a visually stunning film that lacks any depth. That’s where I fall with this one, it is a very well made movie, tremendous to look at, it just did not hold my attention at all. Audiences seem to be just as split as they have given it a mediocre 77% audience score with a slightly better B+ cinemascore. With a reported $80 million budget, this movie needed to have a better opening plain and simple. With some big titles coming up, you can expect The Creator to fizzle out at the domestic box office. All eyes will be on international numbers to see if this title can be saved from financial ruin. I will say though, despite not being a big fan of this film, it is a genuine shame whenever a piece of original filmmaking like this doesn’t catch on with audiences, it sends the wrong message to the studios.

creator, john david washington, gareth edwards

Rounding out the top five is the fourth week of The Nun II with an estimated $4.6 million added to its solid running domestic total of $76.7 million. With The Exorcist: Believer opening next week there will be some competition for this Conjuring Universe film, but with a solid month before Halloween this one still has a decent shot at hitting the magical $100 million mark. Coming in fifth is the new faith based film The Blind with a reported $4.1 million. The film tells the story of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson and how his faith helped him in his life. Faith based films have their dedicated audiences who generally show up any time a movie geared towards them hits screens and with a current 99% audience score this one may have some decent legs in the weeks to come. 

Coming in under A Haunting in Venice’s $3.8 million weekend is the wide expansion of Dumb Money with just $3.5 million. The story of the recent Game Stop Stock Market phenomenon had a slow roll out over the past few weeks where it amassed decent numbers, however it seems the film just didn’t have the crossover appeal needed to propel this one into a surprise hit. For me, this movie will go down as one of my favorites of the year as it gives a detailed look at something we had all heard about but perhaps didn’t fully comprehend when it was happening (although I wish I did, because I could have made a lot of money!) Sadly, with a reported $30 million budget, this is another movie that needed to garner stronger numbers to ultimately be successful. This one will definitely play better once it hits home video as it doesn’t scream “big screen experience” but I recommend keeping an eye out for it, because it is worthy of your time.

equalizer, denzel

Eighth place belongs to the other Washington fronted movie as John David’s father, Denzel, heads up The Equalizer 3 which saw a fifth weekend of $2.7 million added to its over $85 million domestic take. With the film tapering off and the October marketplace being pretty packed, I’m not sure this one has the momentum to get to that magical $100 million mark, but it is still a respectable finish to the highly entertaining franchise. 

A franchise that doesn’t seem to have gone out with respectable numbers is The Expendables as the fourth and presumed final installment in the series: Expend4bles garnered just $2.4 million in its second week, representing a horrific 69% decline from its opening weekend and only a $13.2 million domestic total off a reported $100 million budget. 

Last but certainly not least is Barbie which likely sees her final week in the top ten after nearly three months with a weekend take of $1.4 million and a domestic total of $633 million. The movie wasn’t just a hit, it was a phenomenon and you can expect the chatter to only ramp up as awards season gets into full swing in the coming months.

Did you make it out to theaters this weekend? If so, what did you see? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check out our weekly poll where we ask: What is your most anticipated movie coming out in October 2023?