Lionsgate's Saw franchise seemed to get a new lease on death over the weekend (even though the studio had been touting the seventh film in the franchise as the final one), reinvigorated, it would appear, by 3D. Saw 3D took in $24.2 million according to studio estimates, $10 million more than the last installment of the franchise did in its debut a year ago. "We were all disappointed" by the 2009 results, Lionsgate distribution chief David Spitz told the Associated Press. He said studio execs back then thought, "What can we do to reinvigorate the franchise? So we shot the movie in 3D and said this is the final chapter." Not only did the strategy seem to work, but it also cut down another horror franchise that beat Saw 6 when it debuted last year. The second weekend of Paramount's Paranormal Activity 2 produced just $16.5 million in ticket sales, down 60 percent from its opening last week. Nevertheless, the second Paranormal movie recorded a far bigger opening -- $41.7 million -- than this week's Saw VII , without the benefit of 3D. Meanwhile, Paramount's Jackass 3D , continued to hold up well -- it was also aided by the 3D surcharge -- as it added $8.4 million to its total, putting it past the $100-million mark.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. Saw 3D , $24.2 million; 2. Paranormal Activity 2 , $16.5 million; 3. RED, $10.8 million; 4. Jackass 3D, $8.4 million; 5. Hereafter, $6.3 million; 6. Secretariat, $5.1 million; 7. The Social Network, $4.7 million; 8. Life as We Know It , $4 million; 9. The Town, $2 million; 10. Conviction, $1.8 million.

01/11/2010