Jigsaw may have opened to very mixed reviews, but this didn’t stop the horror movie from bringing in $16.2 million during its opening weekend. The eighth film in the Saw franchise is the latest genre film to find mainstream success. In fact, 2017 is the first time horror movies have ever accumulated a combined $1.1 billion in domestic ticket sales.
Critics Are Split on Jigsaw
The general consensus among reviewers, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes, is that Jigsaw isn’t very good. Surprisingly, though, the 31 percent rating the latest torture fest has racked up makes it the fourth best reviewed entry in the Saw series. It’s also worth noting that the critics who did like Jigsaw have given it high praise, including the Hollywood Reporter, which dubbed it “an existential experience.” To date, no Saw film has gotten a “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although the first one came really close with a score of 49 percent.
Meanwhile, audiences are praising Jigsaw, despite the film actually underperforming last weekend when it was expected to make at least $20 million. Currently, 94 percent of Rotten Tomatoes viewers who saw Jigsaw said they liked it, and it’s also sitting at a 6.2/10 on IMDb.
2017: The Year of Horror
So far, 2017 hasn’t been a great year for cinema overall. Ticket sales for October were down a staggering 13 percent from last year, and 2017 as a whole is down by 5 percent. If it wasn’t for horror success stories such as It and Get Out, the financial situation would be even more dire for the movie industry.
The top-grossing film of 2017 so far is Beauty and the Beast, but the $1.1 billion brought in by the horror genre alone is a huge piece of the year’s $7.2 billion to date. Without It, for example, $324.7 million in domestic sales would be lost.
Horror isn’t done with the year yet, either. There’s at least one highly anticipated title on the horizon: Mayhem, starring Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead fame. Insidious: The Last Key is well-poised to kick start 2018 with its scheduled release on January 5.
Can We Expect More Jigsaw and Horror in General?
The Saw series may once again be put to bed if the latest film doesn’t end up meeting or exceeding expectations during the next few weeks. Horror in general, though, is definitely on an upswing. As big breakout indie hits such as Get Out and It Follows have illustrated, there’s a growing market for horror, especially when it’s intelligent and original.
Blumhouse Productions, the studio behind Get Out and other big box-office winners such as Split, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Purge may understand this formula better than anyone else. Their modest budgets and average gross of $51.4 million per film have reignited the genre. Therefore, Jigsaw may not return, but horror will remain alive and well in 2018, perhaps even saving the flailing movie industry.
[Featured Image by Serendipity Productions]