Happy pups prevailed at the domestic box office this weekend as Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie scared off Saw X and The Creator with $23 million in a needed win for the family marketplace.
Saw X placed second with $18 million. While that’s hardly a bad start for a film that cost $13 million to make before marketing, it had hoped to silence the canines and come in No. 1. The Creator followed with a muted $14 million. The $80 million original sci-fi epic, directed by Rogue One‘s Gareth Edwards, was the biggest swing of the weekend and hopes to make up ground overseas (it debuted to $32.3 million globally).
Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie, which cost a lean $30 million to produce before marketing, follows the success of 2021’s Paw Patrol: The Movie that helped solidify Paramount chief Brian Robbins’ standing. That film opened to a muted $13.1 million domestically before turning into a sleeper hit and grossing $140 million globally, a notable figure considering the pandemic and a day-and-date debut on Paramount+. A third film is already on the way, expected for 2026.
Taraji P. Henson, Kristen Bell, Christian Convery, Brice Gonzalez, Mckenna Grace and Lil Rel Howery voice star in The Mighty Movie, centering on the heroic pups. Paramount, Spin Master and Nickelodeon are partners in the fledgling big-screen franchise.
The Saw franchise — which is now nearly 20 years old — got a surprising jolt of critical appreciation with Saw X, which landed the best reviews of any film in the series. Audiences gave it a B CinemaScore, which is considered a relatively good mark for a slasher pic.
The Saw franchise has grossed more than $1 billion and began with the 2004 feature from director James Wan and writer-star Leigh Whannell. It is driven by the machinations of John Kramer, a serial killer known as Jigsaw who presents his victims with horrible choices that will determine if they live or die. Jigsaw, played by Tobin Bell, met his end in Saw 3 (2006), though he remained involved in the franchise via flashbacks and other methods.
This time around, Jigsaw is back in the flesh, as Saw X takes place in between the events of the second and third installments and picks up with John Kramer traveling to Mexico to receive an experimental treatment for cancer. Once there, he learns the operation is a scam that preys on vulnerable people, so he sets his sights on these medical con artists. Prior to Saw X, the franchise’s Chris Rock-starrer Spiral opened to $8.7 million on its way to $40 million globally. 2017’s Jigsaw bowed to $16.6 million and grossed $102.9 million globally. Saw veteran Kevin Greutert directed the newest installment.
New Regency and Entertainment One produced The Creator, which is distributed by 20th Century Studios. It is one of the rare studio sci-fi movies based on an original concept, rather than a known IP, and stars John David Washington as a man thrust in the middle of a war between humanity and AI. The Creator earned a B+ CinemaScore.
The Creator is Edwards’ first feature since Rogue One, the $1 billion Star Wars hit, and has been of particular interest given the lack of original sci-fi movies hitting theaters over the past decade. In addition to Washington, stars include Gemma Chan, Allison Janney and Ken Watanabe, as well as newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles who plays Alphie, an artificial child who comes under the care of Washington’s character.
Sony’s GameStop movie Dumb Money only managed a seventh-place finish with a disappointing $3.5 million as it expanded nationwide after a slow rollout. (The studio switched up the film’s release plan because of the ongoing labor strikes, which prevented writers and talent from participating in any publicity). The pic’s cast includes Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, America Ferrara and Seth Rogen
Craig Gillespie’s well-reviewed movie was likely hurt by torrential rain in New York City late last week, which forced theater closures in parts of Manhattan on Friday (by Saturday, cinemas were back online). Sony insiders say the movie has been doing best In New York City and surrounding suburbs.
More to come.