Paramount/Spin Master’s “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie” is coming out on top at the box office over fellow newcomers “Saw X” and “The Creator,” earning a $6.8 million opening day and an estimated $22.5 million opening weekend from 3,989 theaters.
Buoyed by the excitement of young fans of the Nick Jr. TV series, “Paw Patrol 2” is hitting the top end of the $20-22 million projections set by independent trackers. It is also well ahead of the $13.1 million opening of the first “Paw Patrol” movie, released simultaneously in theaters and on Paramount+ in 2021.
As is customary for family films aimed at the youngest age range, audience reception for “Paw Patrol 2” has been strong, receiving an A on CinemaScore and an 80% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. With no major family competition for weeks, this film should have solid legs through October against its $30 million budget — not to mention addding to the $10 billion in lifetime franchise merch sales that “Paw Patrol” has earned since 2014.
“Saw X,” which was released on a franchise-high 3,262 theaters by Lionsgate, earned $8 million on Friday and is estimated to earn an $18 million opening weekend. But it has the chance to stretch to $20 million if it overperforms in evening screenings on Saturday and Sunday. That result tops the $16.1 million opening earn by “Jigsaw” in 2017.
Sold as a back-to-basics installment set between the first two films in the series, “Saw X” has become the first “Saw” film to earn a “certified fresh” rating with an 87% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans of the series have also been generally pleased, landing a B on CinemaScore, marking the fifth time a “Saw” film has earned that grade from audiences. That should give this film the word of mouth to leg out through October among horror fans, even against competition from Universal’s ‘The Exorcist: Believer” next weekend.
Disney/20th Century/New Regency’s “The Creator” is taking third with an industry estimated $14-15 million opening after earning $5.6 million from 3,680 theaters.
While that result would be a step above the low teens projections for Gareth Edwards’ sci-fi, this New Regency/eOne co-production carries a budget of $80 million. Reception has been generally positive, but it hasn’t been glowing, with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 67% from the critics and 75% from audiences to go with a B+ on CinemaScore. That reception may not be enough to give “The Creator” much-needed momentum going forward.
Outside the top 5, Sony’s “Dumb Money” has entered the final stage of its nationwide rollout as it expands to 2,837 theaters. But grosses have remained low, with just $1.3 million earned on Friday and an industry-estimated weekend of $3.4 million.
Through three weekends, “Dumb Money” has only grossed $7.2 million against a reported $30 million budget, financed by Black Bear Pictures with Sony handling distribution. Insiders at Sony say the studio is holding out hope that the film will continue to leg out among urban audiences with its Wall Street underdog story and have a run similar to director Craig Gillespie’s 2017 film “I, Tonya,” which earned $30 million in the U.S. over several months of theatrical play.
It’s worth noting that, for all of this weekend’s new releases, an unexpected setback has arisen: major flooding in New York City. That led to approximately 20 theaters closing in the nation’s top box office market. Despite this, all three new titles are opening roughly in the range projected before release.