‘High School Musical’ Slays ‘Saw V’ while ‘Pride and Glory’ Finds Neither Pride or Glory

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Zac Efron in High School Musical 3
Photo: Walt Disney Pictures

Anyone surprised Disney’s High School Musical 3 is going to slaughter Lionsgate’s Saw V this weekend? If so you aren’t in the loop and didn’t see the numbers Miley Cyrus drummed up earlier this year on nearly 3,000 fewer screens. So, when it is reporting HSM3 managed an estimated $16.5 million on Friday on its way to an expected $55 million weekend you could perhaps be surprised it didn’t make more. As for Saw V, well it looks like the franchise may be showing mild signs of weekening as the sequels seem to be dropping by $2 million increments since the dreadful Saw III, but an estimated $12.3 million isn’t anything to scoff at.

Steve Mason starts off his weekly Friday estimates with a long diatribe on Disney’s cash cow, High School Musical, and estimates the franchise is so popular the first two basically added $2 billion to the Mouse House’s bottom line. That’s billion… with a “b”. As in bailout style. He predicts the opening weekend is just the beginning and believes the tween musical will likely gross north of $150 million in its domestic run while the soundtrack will rake in dollars as well as subsequent DVD sales. Safe to assume High School Musical 4 can’t be too far off in the future.

As for the Saw franchise, we already know Saw VI is in the works and according to Variety it sounds like this latest installment goes easy on the “torture porn” aspect and settles “for a generally conventional cat-and-mouse detective movie.” Not exactly a bad move considering the torture genre seems to be out of fashion, but seeing how Saw is the franchise that started it all it isn’t any surprise it maintains its supporters, even if numbers are sliding.

  • 2004Saw – $18.2M opening – $55.1M cume
  • 2005Saw II – $31.72M opening – $87M cume
  • 2006Saw III – $33.6M opening – $80.2M cume
  • 2007Saw IV – $31.7M opening – $63.3M cume
  • 2008Saw V – $29M estimated opening

With Saw V operating on a reported production budget of $10.8 million I think it is safe to say it is a franchise Lionsgate won’t abandon as long as it is tripling its budget on opening weekend. Would it be too much to assume that even doubling its budget on opening weekend would be acceptable to the Lion’s suits?

Also opening this weekend was the disappointing Pride and Glory a film that sails smoothly for its first 75% but then hits a wall in its climax with an uncalled for fist fight and bouts with major coincidence only assumed real in movie land. The film, as Mason points out, looks like it will end slightly higher than the $5 million it was tracking at after pulling in $2.2 million on Friday, just $.4 short of Max Payne in the third slot and is expected to take in approximately $6.3 million and coming in fifth with Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua besting it.

The curious release of the week was Sony’s Anne Hathaway starrer Passengers, which the studio dumped in only 125 theaters across the country. Gotta wonder where the logic in that is, perhaps they learned something after opening Lindsay Lohan’s I Know Who Killed Me in 1,320 theaters to the tune of $7.4 million total. Other releases such as Clint Eastwood’s Changeling saw 15 theaters, Synecdoche, New York opened in 9 theaters, I’ve Loved You So Long in 6 and Let the Right One In opened in 4. I wouldn’t expect much from any of these bad boys.

Below are the complete early Friday estimates and Laremy will be here on Sunday with a full recap.

  1. High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Disney) – $16.5 million
  2. Saw V (Lionsgate) – $12.3 million
  3. Max Payne (Fox) – $2.6 million
  4. Pride and Glory (Warner Bros) – $2.2
  5. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (Disney) – $1.9 million
  6. The Secret Life of Bees (Fox Searchlight) – $1.83 million
  7. W. (Lionsgate) – $1.79 million
  8. Eagle Eye (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $1.7 million
  9. Body of Lies (Warner Bros) – $1.38 million
  10. Quarantine (Sony) – $1.05 million