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‘PAW Patrol’ shows barking at the box office

After a few quiet weeks in movie theaters, four films opened in wide release over the weekend. “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” came in first with $23 million in ticket sales, according to the studio’s estimates on Sunday.

Performances in all four films – “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” “Saw X,” “The Creator” and “Dumb Money” told a familiar story at the box office. What did it do? Horror and animated series. What not happened? Originality and comedy.

The timing of “PAW Patrol” from Paramount Pictures and Spin Master was good. The film, which is the sequel to the 2021 movie “PAW Patrol” adapted from the Nickelodeon series, was the first family animated film to be released in theaters since “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”, which was released in early August.

The first “PAW Patrol,” released during the pandemic, debuted with $13 million while simultaneously streaming on Paramount+, and its success in both arenas was a contributing factor to Nickelodeon chief Brian Robbins being named head of Paramount. A third “PAW Patrol” movie has already been greenlit.

$23.1 million was added to the international sales of “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” which cost $30 million to produce.

The tenth film in the long-running horror franchise, “Saw The previous “Saw” movie starring Chris Rock, 2021’s “Spiral,” opened with $8.8 million domestically and grossed $23.3 million overall.

But the 10th “Saw” doubled down on the gore and brought back Tobin Bell as serial killer Jigsaw. It had the series’ best opening weekend in over a decade and strong audience ratings.

The $13 million production was also the widest release of “Saw” to date, opening in 3,262 theaters. Since James Wan’s original film in 2004, the “Saw” series, the flagship of the so-called torture porn franchise, has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide.

“The Creator,” the $80 million movie financed by New Regency and distributed by Disney’s 20th Century Studios, was the biggest movie opening in theaters over the weekend but struggled to keep up. It grossed a modest $14 million in 3,680 theaters, while adding $18.3 million internationally.

Directed by Gareth Edwards, the film stars John David Washington as an undercover agent in a future dominated by artificial intelligence. “The Creator” received mostly positive reviews from audiences and received a B+ CinemaScore.

Sony Pictures’ “Dumb Money” expanded nationwide after two weeks of limited release but failed to ignite the kind of populist movement it irreverently dramatized. Directed by Craig Gillespie, the film opened with a disappointing $3.5 million in 2,837 venues.

Starring Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Seth Rogen, American Ferrera and Anthony Ramos, “Dumb Money” turns the GameStop stock frenzy into a ripped-from-the-headlines underdog story of the amateur traders shaking up Wall Street. Although all of the weekend’s new releases were hampered by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, “Dumb Money” could especially benefit from cast members from late-night shows and other promotions.

“Dumb Money” for $30 million wasn’t a huge bet. But it represented the kind of movie Hollywood rarely makes anymore—a mid-budget, acclaimed, original movie aimed mostly at adults. As the industry heads into awards season after a year in which many high-profile contenders (including “Tár” and “Fabelmans”) failed to make it to theaters, the results of “Dumb Money” could be a wake-up call for films in the pipeline.

Another notable success of the weekend came from a four-decade-old concert film. The 4K restoration of Talking Heads’ concert film Stop Making Sense grossed $1 million on 786 screens, leading all films in the number of dancing moviegoers. The Jonathan Demme movie has made over $3 million so far. Independent distributor A24 has promised it will “keep audiences dancing in aisles around the world for a very long time to come.”

Estimated ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters from Friday through Sunday, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be announced on Monday.

1. “PAW Patrol: Powerful Movie,” $23 million.

2. “I Saw X,” $18 million.

3. “The Creator,” $14 million.

4. “Sister II,” $4.7 million.

5. “Blind” $4.1 million.

6. “A Haunted in Venice,” $3.8 million.

7. “Dumb Money” $3.5 million.

8. “The Leveller,” $2.7 million.

9. “Expend4bles,” $2.5 million.

10. “Barbie,” $1.4 million.

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