Happy pups prevailed at the domestic box office this weekend as Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie scared off Saw X and The Creator with $23 million from 3,989 theaters in a needed win for the family marketplace.
The news was just as good overseas, where the sequel flexed its muscle in opening to $23.1 million from 45 markets for a global bow of $46.1 million, a 70 percent uptick over the last pic. Parents and kids made up 90 percent of the audience in North America, where the sequel over-indexed in most regions save for the western part of the U.S.
Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie, which cost a lean $30 million to produce before marketing, follows the success of 2021’s Paw Patrol: The Movie that helped solidify Paramount chief Brian Robbins’ standing. That film opened to $13.1 million domestically before turning into a sleeper hit and grossing $140 million globally, a notable figure considering the pandemic and a day-and-date debut on Paramount+. A third film is already on the way, expected for 2026.
Taraji P. Henson, Kristen Bell, Christian Convery, Brice Gonzalez, Mckenna Grace and Lil Rel Howery voice star in The Mighty Movie, centering on the heroic pups. Paramount, Spin Master and Nickelodeon are partners in the fledgling big-screen franchise.
Saw X placed second in North America with $18 million from 3,262 locations. While that’s hardly a bad start for a film that cost $13 million to make before marketing, it had hoped to silence Paw Patrol and come in No. 1. The optimism wasn’t unwarranted; Saw X landed the best reviews of any film in the series. Audiences gave the film a B CinemaScore, which is considered a relatively good mark for the genre.
Overseas, Saw X opened to $11.3 million from 50 markets for a global bow of $29.3 million.
The Saw franchise has grossed more than $1 billion and began with the 2004 feature from director James Wan and writer-star Leigh Whannell. It is driven by the machinations of John Kramer, a serial killer known as Jigsaw who presents his victims with horrible choices that will determine if they live or die. Jigsaw, played by Tobin Bell, met his end in Saw 3 (2006), though he remained involved in the franchise via flashbacks and other methods.
This time around, Jigsaw is back in the flesh, as Saw X takes place in between the events of the second and third installments and picks up with Kramer traveling to Mexico to receive an experimental treatment for cancer. Once there, he learns the operation is a scam that preys on vulnerable people, so he sets his sights on these medical con artists. Prior to Saw X, the franchise’s Chris Rock-starrer Spiral opened to $8.7 million on its way to $40 million globally. 2017’s Jigsaw bowed to $16.6 million and grossed $102.9 million globally. Saw veteran Kevin Greutert directed the newest installment.
The Creator followed in third place domestically with a muted $14 million from 3,680 cinemas. The $80 million original sci-fi epic, directed by Rogue One‘s Gareth Edwards, was the biggest swing of the weekend and hopes to make up ground overseas, where it started off with $18.3 million from 48 markets for a $32.3 million global opening.
New Regency and Entertainment One produced The Creator, which is distributed by 20th Century Studios. It is one of the rare studio sci-fi movies based on an original concept, rather than a known IP, and stars John David Washington as a man thrust in the middle of a war between humanity and AI. The Creator earned a B+ CinemaScore.
The film is Edwards’ first feature since Rogue One, the $1 billion Star Wars hit, and has been of particular interest given the lack of original sci-fi movies hitting theaters over the past decade. In addition to Washington, stars include Gemma Chan, Allison Janney and Ken Watanabe, as well as newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles who plays Alphie, an artificial child who comes under the care of Washington’s character.
Another new offering was The Blind, a faith-based biopic from Fathom Events that was spearheaded by the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty fame. Set in 1960s Louisiana, the film tells the real-life story of how patriarch Phil Robertson conquered his demons, including addiction, before they could destroy his family. The Blind rounded out the top five with a solid $5 million from 1,715 locations.
Sony’s GameStop movie Dumb Money only managed a seventh-place finish with a disappointing $3.5 million from 2,837 locations as it expanded nationwide after a slow rollout. (The studio switched up the film’s release plan because of the ongoing labor strikes, which prevented writers and talent from participating in any publicity). The pic’s cast includes Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, America Ferrara and Seth Rogen
Craig Gillespie’s well-reviewed movie was likely hurt by torrential rain in New York City late last week, which forced theater closures in parts of Manhattan on Friday (by Saturday, cinemas were back online). Sony insiders say the movie has been doing best in New York City and surrounding suburbs. The hope now is that Dumb Money, like other adult-skewing fare, will have a long run (next weekend will be a telling test).