LOS ANGELES — Hollywood may be suffering through a spiritless patch but Halloween films can still lend a needed jolt, as Lionsgate horror film “Jigsaw” and a clutch of other scary films showed by boosting an otherwise flimsy weekend box office.
“Jigsaw,” the eighth chapter in the “Saw” franchise, took $16.6 million over the three-day weekend, according to industry website Exhibitor Relations. It beat the same studio’s “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” with $10.1 million.
After that, no film in the top 10 made as much as $6 million, with audiences distracted by baseball’s World Series and the return of hugely popular Netflix series “Stranger Things.”
Even “Jigsaw,” the first “Saw” sequel in seven years, fell some $4 million below expectations in its opening weekend, Variety magazine reported, although its paltry $10-million production budget will ensure it makes a profit.
The latest installment has police investigating a string of horrific murders committed in the style of the supposedly long-dead killer Jigsaw.
Comedy horror sequel “Boo 2” strikes a somewhat lighter tone, with Tyler Perry (who also wrote, directed and produced) and his gang heading to a haunted campground, where — no surprise — monsters lurk.
“Geostorm,” a new release from Warner Bros., took third place, earning $5.9 million. The sci-fi disaster thriller follows Gerard Butler as an engineer tasked with saving the world from an apocalyptic storm caused by climate-controlling satellites run amok.
“Happy Death Day,” another comedy horror flick, took in $5.1 million. The Universal film stars Jessica Rothe as a college student who repeatedly relives the day she was murdered until she discovers who killed her.
In fifth place was sci-fi reboot “Blade Runner: 2049,” taking $4.1 million. The film features Ryan Gosling as a Los Angeles Police Department “blade runner” charged with killing bioengineered androids who are becoming too much like humans. He goes on a search for Harrison Ford’s character — the original blade runner — who had disappeared years earlier.
With ticket sales in October some 5% below the same month last year, Hollywood is eagerly awaiting next week’s domestic premiere of Marvel and Disney’s “Thor: Ragnarok.” It took in an impressive $108 million in its international opening.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
“Thank You for Your Service” ($3.8 million)
“Only the Brave” ($3.5 million)
“The Foreigner” ($3.4 million)
“Suburbicon” ($2.8 million)
“It” ($2.5 million)
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