Good cut for 'Saw IV' can't kill losing streak

Boxoffice down for sixth week in row

Related story: Food, horror whet overseas appetite

"Saw IV," Lionsgate's latest in the dependable horror franchise, tapped $31.8 million to open atop the domestic boxoffice for the weekend.

Disney's counterprogramming ploy, the romantic comedy "Dan in Real Life," worked well enough for a second-place opening of $11.8 million as the Steve Carell-Juliette Binoche starrer drew heavily among the date crowd.

But industrywide grosses disappointed yet again, with the weekend marking a sixth consecutive down session. The frame's $102.1 million in total grosses represented a 2% downtick from the same weekend a year ago, according to data tracker Nielsen EDI.

The original "Saw" opened during Halloween 2004 with $18.3 million and went on to gross $55.2 million domestically. One year later, "Saw II" bowed with $31.7 million and eventually took in $87 million. Last year, "Saw III" debuted with $33.6 million en route to an $80.2 million total.

Sony's "The Grudge" represents the best horror opener ever with its $39 million performance in October 2004.

Lionsgate has stood out in the lackluster fall marketplace, opening three films at No. 1 in the past eight weeks. The distributor's "3:10 to Yuma" and Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" topped weekend rankings over the Sept. 7 and Oct. 12 frames, respectively.

Among the latest weekend's limited openings, ThinkFilm's Sidney Lumet-helmed "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" grossed an estimated $73,837 from a pair of New York playdates, an impressive $36,919 per engagement. "Devil" tempts moviegoers in more than 50 locations throughout New York and adjacent states starting Friday.

Roadside Attractions' Latino-oriented "Bella" debuted with $1.3 million from 165 runs, representing a solid $8,051 per venue.

MGM's disabilities drama "Music Within" bowed with $52,744 from 17 theaters, or $3,103 per venue.

The Sony Pictures Classics documentary "Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains" unspooled with seven engagements to gross $10,413, or just $1,488 per playdate.

Among the notable holdovers, Disney's 3-D rerelease of the animated "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" saw a modest 35% drop from pleasing opening grosses to ring up another $3.4 million from just 564 theaters and finish 10th overall. That bumped 10-day cume for "Nightmare" to $10.1 million.

New Line's Reese Witherspoon-Jake Gyllenhaal starrer "Rendition" was less fortunate in its second frame, slipping from the top 10 on a 42% drop to $2.4 million with a $7.8 million cume.

Focus' literary adaptation "Reservation Road" continued its platforming path, adding 25 theaters for a total of 39 to gross an estimated $45,010 -- a disappointing $1,154 per venue -- with an $101,440 cume. The Ang Lee-helmed "Lust, Caution" added 18 engagements for a total of 143 and grossed $475,480, or an acceptable $3,325 per playdate, with a cume of $2.9 million.

Paramount Vantage's Sean Penn-directed "Into the Wild" continued in 658 locations and grossed $1.6 million, or $2,426 per site, with a cume of almost $9 million.

Fox Searchlight's Wes Anderson comedy "The Darjeeling Limited" added 497 runs for a total of 698 and grossed $1.8 million, or $2,520 per site, with a $6.1 million cume.

MGM's Ryan Gosling starrer "Lars and the Real Girl" added 275 theaters for a total of 296 and grossed $926,675, or $3,131 per venue, with a $1.3 million cume.

And Freestyle's "Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour" more than halved its theatrical run for its second weekend -- to 460 runs, after opening with 1,121 -- and grossed $83,680, or a near-invisible $182 per location. Its cume is $817,935.
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