Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hello Sharpay... I'd like to play a game. Why isn't Saw V opening on Halloween night?

As most of us know, Lionsgate is releasing the fifth film in the ongoing Saw series in late October as they always do. Yet, this time, for the first time since the original, there is genuine competition. This time, there is the juggernaut known as High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Fair enough, far be it for Lionsgate to admit inferiority and move their movie from the onslaught of the Disney freight train. And make no mistake, High School Musical 3 will make more in one day than Saw V will make all weekend, possibly more all weekend that Saw V will gross overall. HSM3 will break the October opening weekend record and will have one of the highest grossing opening weekends of the year. But here's the weird thing...

Saw V and High School Musical 3 are opening on October 24th. Why in god's name isn't Lionsgate moving Saw V a week later? What date would that be? Oh, yeah, October 31st! Yup, Halloween falls on a Friday night this year. Why isn't LG using this random bit of luck in their favor? Aside from saving face in regards to giving them to perfect reason to move, well, it's the perfect release day.

Saw has always banked on Halloween, and it's not like the film is going to lose that much from kids trick R treating. First of all, the core Saw audience is composed of people too old to be scavenging for candy but too young to have kids of their own. Second of all, most neighborhoods have trick R treating from 5-7pm, leaving plenty of time to leave the kids with a babysitter (or drop them off at HSM3) and catch that 8 or 9pm showing. Last bit... having both films open back to back just makes it that much easier for underage kids to buy tickets to HSM3 and sneak into Saw V, depriving LG of much needed opening weekend coin. This probably cost Rambo its opening weekend crown back in January, when the PG-13 Meet The Spartans won by a nose.

Considering how atrocious the last Saw film was, you'd think that Lionsgate would need every advantage they could obtain to keep this drawn-out franchise afloat. I'm genuinely baffled by Lionsgate's thinking on this one, but then much of their behavior has been odd since their announcement of their 'grown-up studio' aspirations (allegedly massacring The Punisher: War Zone, ditching Midnight Meat Train, releasing nearly a dozen major films in the last four months of the 2008). We'll see...

Scott Mendelson

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