I realize that the above headline does nothing to inform you that Julie Benz has been cast in the new Saw movie, but, all things being equal, I’d rather not play a part in publicizing the existence of a new Saw movie. The fifth, to be exact.
where we go chasing precedent: when was the last time a horror
franchise scored at least four theatrical sequels? From the slasher era,
there’s Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and… anything beyond that? Hellraiser could only muster three sequels before going direct-to-video, Wes Craven ducked out after Scream 3, while Z-grade series like Children of the Corn, The Howling (not a reflection on the quality of the original) and Prom Night barely made it to their second entry before hitting the shelves. I guess Child’s Play is the most recent to pass the fourth theatrical sequel threshold, but it had to veer into straight-up parody to get there.
you can tell how close these franchises are to skipping the first
revenue window altogether by the size of their opening weekend take and
the caliber of stars they attract. Saw IV fell $2 million short of Saw III‘s
debut, but still managed to top the second film’s bow, so that means a
sixth installment is practically guaranteed – i.e. provided Saw V
clears $25 million for the three-day. As for “star power”, Julie Benz
is a shade more respectable than Dina Meyer or Shawnee Smith, so maybe
Lionsgate can eke out a seventh if the audience doesn’t desert them
(and Tobin Bell doesn’t start demanding an eight-figure payday).
For now, however, it looks like Friday the 13th‘s ten-movie record (not counting Freddy vs. Jason) is safe. Aren’t you relieved?