Friday Box Office: ‘Saw 3D’ Cuts Down ‘Paranormal’ With Dull $10.8M

“Final” installment of Lionsgate’s torture-porn franchise rebounds to vanquish Paramount rival; tracking for a $23M+ weekend with 3D ticket sales, however, Jigsaw’s best years have clearly come and gone

"In the bottom of our hearts we felt the final cut."

Or so said Lionsgate, as it debuted the seventh, and supposedly final, "Saw" movie in 3D Friday, taking in an estimated $10.8 million to lead the domestic box office, according to studio data.

Tracking to gross nearly $24 million for the weekend, slightly above pre-release estimates, it can be called a resurgent weekend for the prolific torture-porn franchise, which last year was routed by Paramount viral sensation "Paranormal Activity."

Friday, prequel "Paranormal 2" observed a more normal course of box-office activity, grossing an estimated $5.9 million and dropping 71 percent from its sensational $40.7 million debut a week prior.

For the weekend, "Paranormal 2" is set to gross about $17 million — gravy for an Oren Peli follow-up that cost just $3 million to produce.

Here's how the top 10 fared at the domestic box office. Full report continues below chart:

Keep in mind, however, that from 2005-2008 — as Lionsgate annually churned out follow-ups to 2004's first "Saw" movie — the films each opened to over $30 million on negative costs of about $10 million, without the benefit of 3D up-charge.

This latest opening for the gruesome R-rated franchise isn't as good as those, especially considering that 3D production doubled the negative cost to about $20 million.

But it's a lot better than last year's $14.1 million start for "Saw VI" on the week before Halloween, when the apex of "Paranormal 1's" startling $107.9 million domestic run ate it alive (sorry, even writing about these movies renders gruesome prose).

Bottom line: this francise still makes money for Lionsgate, so those concerned about the greater good of pop culture be warned — you may have not seen the last "Saw" movie, after all.

Overall, "Saw 3D" debuted at 2,808 theaters, grabbing more than 2,700 3D screens across North America.

It was the only movie to go wide this Halloween weekend at the domestic box office, which was up about 8 percent year-to-year on Friday, according to one studio's estimate.

Among limited openings, the U.S. debut of the latest Stieg Larsson adaptation, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," debuted to a strong $270,000 at 125 theaters.