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Lionsgate mimics Barbenheimer with Saw Patrol

Lionsgate+mimics+Barbenheimer+with+Saw+Patrol
Chenya Kwon

A double feature consisting of a brighter, more innocent film starring a piece of well–known children’s media in conjunction with a darker, more violent movie starring a man with a gut-dropping kill count reaches the end of its showing after nearly five weeks in theaters.

No, this double feature is not Barbenheimer — this is Saw Patrol.
The combination includes Saw X, the next installment in the fictional serial killer Jigsaw’s franchise, and PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, another movie adaptation of the beloved children’s animated show. Initially, the duo had separate release dates, however, their studio, Lionsgate, decided to release both movies on Sep. 29 by changing Saw X’s original date of Oct. 27, according to Wesley Stenzel in “The next Barbieheimer? Saw X moves release date to compete with PAW Patrol” on ew.com. The studio also tweeted “One ticket to SAW PATROL, please”  on July 20, 2023 to bring attention to the pairing of the two films.

In contrast to Barbenheimer’s unprecendented, viewer based origins, Saw Patrol appears to be an intentional combination from its own studio. For some, these Barbenheimer–inspired marketing strategies may be beneficial for the film industry and its viewers.

“Any tactic that’s going to bring people to theaters is really important,” said Film Club president Jackson Scarbrough ‘24. “We need movie theaters to be kept alive. They employ people. Memories are made there; my fondest memories of childhood are going in and seeing movies in theaters. It brings a really different experience to movie–watching.”

Others maintain concerns about the seemingly financially–based motivation and its effects on the industry’s future products.

“Right now, the film industry has increasingly focused only on views,” said Film Club vice president Elizabeth Cannon ‘24. “It seems like to me, it is only to increase the money they generate. To me, it detracts from the artistic quality. I think it implies that the film industry is going in a direction where it seems to be less creative.”

Despite following the same marketing strategy, Saw Patrol may not be as significant if it is not able to reach the success of its predecessor.

After just over a month since release, the box office results fall short of Barbenheimer’s numbers. Worldwide, Saw X and PAW Patrol earned $81.55 million and $166.41 million respectively for a grand total of $247.96 million, according to www.boxofficemojo.com. In stark contrast, Barbie and Oppenheimer alone surpassed Saw Patrol’s sum with $1.44 billion and $946.84 million earnings respectively. Together, Barbenheimer saw sales of $2.38 billion. Though Saw X and PAW Patrol will continue to have showings until Nov. 2, it appears vastly unlikely that the double feature will come close to its predecessor’s success.

Many predict there are some inherent characteristics to Barbenheimer that Saw Patrol lacks which has prevented the latter from reaching the same heights. One such factor may be the lack of directors’ reputation paired with minimal novelty for viewers.

Oppenheimer was directed by a Christopher Nolan, and Barbie is such a well–known and huge brand,” said Cannon. “Now, with Saw and PAW Patrol, it’s trying to recreate something that already happened, and I don’t think it’s going to have the same result.”

Others believe that the issue stems from stark differences in the intended audience for each film.

“At the very least, [Barbie and Oppenehimer have] a teens–and–up demographic,” said Matthew Carrillo, 10H and 11CP English teacher. “Whereas, [with] something like Saw Patrol, you have a kids’ movie geared for seven and younger with a very hardcore horror movie.”

Though Saw Patrol experienced lackluster results, moviegoers still worry that studios will continue to pursue mediocre adaptations of prior successes, ultimately depriving fans of engaging films.

“I’m hoping studios won’t get the wrong idea over what made Barbie and Oppenheimer so special,” said Carrillo. “We don’t love Barbie because it was a toy. [Yet,] they’re making a bunch of Mattel product movies … That’s not really what I’m looking for. What audiences really crave is movies with a unique voice, and that’s what both of those movies were.”

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About the Contributor
Chenya Kwon, Staff Writer
My name is Chenya Kwon, and I am a staff writer on The Arrow. My favorite part about journalism is being able to interview people. Hearing about opinions, experiences, and stories firsthand makes the stories we write about feel so much more alive and impactful. Outside of journalism, I divvy up my time between cuddling with my cat Buster, painting, and watching my favorite Netflix shows.
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