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Lionsgate’s fright-fest Jigsaw — reviving the marquee Saw franchise — is the clear favorite to prevail this weekend with a debut of $20 million or more from 2,800 theaters, including Imax locations. Horror has been the big story of the 2017 box office this far, led by New Line Cinema’s blockbuster It.
The weekend’s biggest headline, however, will be overseas, where Marvel Studios and Disney’s Thor: Ragnarok opens in numerous markets a week ahead of its Nov. 3 domestic debut. The first superhero film of the fall could easily take in $100 million in its offshore launch.
Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, Jigsaw picks up a decade after the death of the eponymous murderer as police investigate a rash of slayings matching his signature moves. Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Cle Bennett and Hannah Emily Anderson star in the R-rated movie, which hasn’t yet been screened for critics. (The marketing campaign for Jigsaw included a national blood drive that collected over 125,000 pints.)
In 2010, Saw 3D was billed as the final chapter in the Saw series, but Lionsgate decided to have another go.
Suburbicon, despite high-profile stops at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, is tracking to open in the $5 million-$7 million range from 2,045 theaters. If so, that would mark the worst wide opening of Clooney’s directing career, as well as one of the weakest starts for leading man Matt Damon, who stars opposite Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac.
The racially tinged film, from a script by Clooney, Grant Heslov and the Coen brothers, tells the story of a seemingly perfect white family whose suburban home is invaded in the summer of 1959. Their not-so-nice side is exposed when their new African-American neighbors are blamed for the crime.
Paramount paid $10 million for U.S. rights to the indie project, which was financed by Black Bear Pictures, with Bloom handling the film internationally. Critics haven’t warmed to Suburbicon, which currently sports a 38 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks and partner Universal also enter the fray this weekend with the Iraqi war veteran drama Thank You for Your Service, which is tracking to open in the $3 million-$4 million range from 2,054 theaters.
The film, marking the feature directorial debut of American Sniper scribe Jason Hall, is based on the 2013 book of the same name about combat PTSD by best-selling author and journalist David Finkel. The ensemble cast is led by Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Joe Cole, Amy Schumer, Beulah Koale, Scott Haze, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Brad Beyer, Omar J. Dorsey and Jayson Warner Smith.
Universal and DreamWorks have actively courted veterans, active-duty military and Veterans Support Organizations by hosting nearly 200 screenings of Thank You for Your Service across the country.
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