As Saw X And The Creator Battle For The Attention Of Adults, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie Wins The Weekend Box Office

Movies

Last weekend’s box office results could be described as dismal. The biggest new title was Scott Waugh’s Expend4bles, which received a beatdown from critics in the hours before showtimes, and the final results not only saw said action film flop and finish in second place, but no title managed to make over $10 million. The results were depressing… but this weekend’s profile is wholly different. A wide variety of new titles arrived in wide release, and a fight for first, second, and third place was yielded.

So how did Cal Brunker’s PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, Gareth Edwards’ The Creator, and Kevin Greutert’s Saw X each do in their 2,000+ location debuts? Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis.

Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie Weekend Box Office September 29 - October 1, 2023

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)
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TITLE WEEKEND GROSS DOMESTIC GROSS LW THTRS
1. PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie* $23,000,000 $23,000,000 N/A 3,989
2. Saw X* $18,000,000 $18,000,000 N/A 3,262
3. The Creator* $14,000,000 $14,000,000 N/A 3,680
4. The Nun II $4,675,000 $76,760,000 1 2,871
5. The Blind* $4,119,438 $4,982,024 N/A 1,717
6. A Haunting In Venice $3,800,000 $31,615,091 3 2,785
7. Dumb Money $3,500,000 $7,300,000 8 2,837
8. The Equalizer 3 $2,700,000 $85,928,000 4 2,184
9. Expend4bles $2,495,000 $13,257,815 2 3,518
10. Barbie $1,430,000 $633,082,000 5 1,302

Pivoting To The Superhero Genre, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie Outperforms Its Predecessor In Its Box Office Opening Weekend

Movie-goers will remember 2021 as a rough year for theaters. The industry was bouncing back from the horror year that was 2020, and there was an effort that was required to get people back into the habit of regularly visiting their local cinema. This difficult time is reflected in the domestic box office numbers for Cal Brunker’s PAW Patrol: The Movie. Despite the immense popularity of the animated brand, the film had a soft $13.1 million start when it was released in late August 2021, and it only ended up making $40.1 million by the end of its run in North America and Canada (it made $151.4 million worldwide).

Much has changed since those dark times, and PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie has showcased that fact in its opening weekend. The puppy-centric franchise has made a pivot to the superhero genre for its big screen sequel, and its first three days playing in locations across North America has resulted in double the ticket sales of its predecessor. Early reporting from The Numbers say that the film has made $23 million so far. 

According to the same site, its earnings overseas thus far are nearly a perfect match – the animated release having made $23.1 million to date from foreign territories. Variety says that the film was made with a $30 million budget (not including publicity and marketing), so the feature is already well on its way to being seen as a financial success.

Christian Convery as “Chase", Callum Shoniker as “Rocky", Finn Lee-Epp as “Ryder", and Marsai Martin as “Liberty" in Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The big question now is whether or not PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie will be able to have the legs that have been shown by some of 2023’s other biggest animated hits. Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, for example, dominated the box office for a full month when it was released in early April, and Peter Sohn’s Elemental quietly ended up being one of the biggest cinematic success stories of the summer following a slow start.

It’s worth noting that there aren’t any major releases in October akin to PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie in that they don’t specifically target younger audiences, but there is certainly a lot of general competition that is going to steal away attention. David Gordon Green’s The Exorcist: Believer is coming on Friday to provide entertainment for all those celebrating spooky season (same with Emma Tammi’s Five Nights At Freddy’s at the end of the month); Taylor Swift concert film is set for a big debut on October 13; and Martin Scorsese’s epic Killers Of The Flower Moon will be coming one week later. 

We’ll certainly keep an eye on PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, as it may end up hanging around in Top 5 for a while.

Horror Bests Sci-Fi In The Battle For Second Place Between Saw X And The Creator

A month ago, I never would have believed anyone who told me that Saw X was going to receive a better critical reception than The Creator… but here we are. The two genre films were released this weekend in head-to-head competition, and to the shock of the industry, the ninth sequel in the Saw franchise not only received better buzz, but it also bested its counterpart at the box office. Per the early numbers, Saw X has had a $18 million start, while The Creator has made $14 million since Friday.

By macro franchise standards, Saw X didn’t have a record-breaking debut (its opening weekend is now ranked seventh in the series), but it does mark a significant bounce back for the brand. When Darren Lynn Bousman’s Spiral: From The Book Of Saw was released in May 2021, it was viewed as a bomb, making just $8.8 million in its first three days. The new film is also off to a better start than Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig’s Jigsaw, which brought in $16.6 million when it premiered in October 2017. 

Worldwide, the movie has already made $29.3 million (it needs to make just $10.2 million more to surpass the entire gross of Spiral).

Not part of a franchise, The Creator‘s numbers must be judged in a different way… and it’s difficult to put a positive spin on the results. While the Saw franchise is known for generating box office success by keeping budgets low, 20th Century Studios bet big on Gareth Edwards’ sci-fi vision, and thus far it hasn’t gotten the desired response. The Variety article cited earlier that notes the budget of PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie says that the John David Washington-led title reportedly cost $80 million to make – and while that’s significantly less than Edwards’ $200 million Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the film still has a distance to travel before its considered a success.

How will the two titles do as we get into October and The Exorcist: Believer enters the fray starting this Friday? Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend every Sunday for our weekly rundown of the weekend box office, and head over to our 2023 Movie Release Calendar to discover all of the big titles coming out this month and beyond.

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