After the success of Barbenheimer, audiences will now reveal if they have an appetite for what’s being dubbed “Saw Patrol” this weekend as Paramount’s kid-friendly Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie goes up against Lionsgate’s horror feature Saw X.
Both movies did respectable business on Friday. Sax X won the day with an estimated $8 million — including $2 million in Thursday night grosses — although Paw Patrol will take the lead sometime on Saturday for a weekend opening in the $22.5 million range, ahead of 2021’s Paw Patrol: The Movie, which came out during the tough days of the pandemic and debuted to $13.1 million.
While the Internet bestowed Saw and Paw Patrol with the memable moniker Saw Patrol (describing the unlikely idea of doing a double feature), the weekend’s biggest swing is The Creator, the $80 million sci-fi feature from Rogue One director Gareth Edwards. The film brought in $5.6 million on Friday, including $1.6 million in previews, for an estimated debut of $14 million to $14.5 million, behind expectations. The movie, however, hopes to be a bigger player overseas.
New Regency and Entertainment One produced the film, 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.
Saw, the nearly 20-year-old franchise, gets a surprising jolt of critical appreciation with Saw X, which landed the series’ best reviews. Audiences gave the film 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 preying on vulnerable people, so he sets his sights on these medical con artists. The previous installment, the 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 from a script by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg. The film had a budget of around $13 million.
Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie follows the sleeper hit success of Paw Patrol: The Movie from two years ago that helped solidify Paramount chief Brian Robbins’ standing. The film grossed $140 million globally, a notable figure amid the pandemic as it debuted day-and-date 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 film centering on the heroic pups. Paramount distributes the film that also hails from Spin Master and Nickelodeon. Cal Brunker directed from a screenplay he wrote with Bob Barlen, via a story the duo developed with Shane Morris.
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 as Alphie, an artificial child who comes under the care of Washington’s character.
The weekend’s other movie to watch is Sony’s GameStop movie Dumb Money, which has been expanded slowly before playing everywhere this weekend. Craig Gillespie’s well-reviewed movie is packing for a $3.5 million to $4 million weekend and was likely hurt Friday by bad rain in New York City, where a slew of theaters were forced to shut early (they are back open today).
Grosses will be updated Sunday morning.
An original version of this story was published Sept. 29 at 8: 22 am.