N.American Box Office]Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’ tanks, ‘Saw’ sequel soarsNEW YORK - George Clooney’s “Suburbicon” notched one of the most dismal wide-release debuts in recent years on a sluggish pre-Halloween weekend where the horror sequel “Jigsaw” topped all releases despite an underperforming debut.
The eighth “Saw” film landed at No. 1 with $16.3 million in North American ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. That came in below industry expectations and suggested the revived “Saw” franchise isn’t connecting with audiences the way other recent horror entries have.
In its first release since the Harvey Weinstein scandal began unfolding, the beleaguered Weinstein Co. feebly released a horror sequel of its own: “Amityville: The Awakening.” It played in an unusual Saturday-only engagement on just 10 screens, and grossed a mere $742.
“Jigsaw” distributor Lionsgate also claimed the No. 2 spot with $10 million in the second week of release for “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween.”
Made for about $10 million, “Jigsaw” comes seven years after the notoriously gruesome franchise - famously dubbed “torture porn” - bid adieu with “Saw 3D: The Final Chapter.”
Critics weren’t happy to see its return, giving “Jigsaw” a 39 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. The Hollywood Reporter said the film “now feels like an outlier in a horror marketplace dominated by films that typically favor spooks over spurts.” Opening-weekend moviegoers also weren’t overwhelmed, giving the film a modest B CinemaScore.
But that rating still easily surpassed the D-minus grade that greeted Clooney’s latest directorial effort. Despite debuting on more than 2,000 screens, “Suburbicon” managed just $2.8 million, making it one of Paramount Pictures’ worst performing wide-releases ever and marking a new box-office low for Clooney as a director and star Matt Damon.
“Suburbicon,” which debuted at the Venice Film Festival, was crafted as a fusion between an old Joel and Ethan Coen home-invasion comedy script and a more pointed satire of racism in a 1959 suburb. Critics didn’t respond well to the mix, either; its Rotten Tomatoes score is just 26 percent fresh.
Paramount paid $10 million for domestic distribution rights for the Black Bear Pictures production, made for about $25 million. The studio has recently backed several divisive releases from respected filmmakers, including Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” which also sputtered at the box office and garnered an even worse F CinemaScore. AP