LOS ANGELES – Scream, a reworking of a horror franchise that seemed to be losing steam, topped the box office, with $30.6 million.
Over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, the sequel is expected to gross $35 million, a fantastic achievement given Scream only cost $25 million to make. It’s also good news for the film business, which has been pummelling and wounded, as Scream’s popularity coincides with a surge in Covid-19.
It helps that Scream’s target demographic is younger, which means that they may not have been as spooked by the highly contagious omicron variant that is fueling the latest iteration of a seemingly endless pandemic. Paramount and Spyglass Media backed the reboot, which marks the first new chapter in the Scream series in a decade and shares a title with 1996 original — the Scream saga is apparently so over integers. The film also brings back familiar faces such as Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, who is once again haunted by a serial killer in a Ghostface mask. Scream debuted in 3,664 locations.
And while Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home was forced to surrender its box office crown for the first time since it opened in December, the superhero sequel still managed to put up some superb results. The film is projected to have a four-day result of $26 million. With more than $700 million in the bank, Spider-Man: No Way Home will now become the fourth-highest grossing domestic release in history, behind only Avatar ($760 million), Avengers: Endgame ($858 million) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936 million). The popularity of the film is so out-sized that it was even name-checked during SNL this weekend with President Biden urging people to stop seeing Spider-Man in order to check the spread of omicron.
The opening weekend result for Scream is in the neighbourhood of the inaugural results for other pandemic era horror hits such as Halloween Kills ($49.4 million debuts and A Quiet Place Part II ($47.5 million). It also represents a major improvement on 2011’s Scream 4 which opened to a dispiriting $19.3 million. Unlike other movies released during Covid, Scream’s low budget means it will have some impressive profit margins — films like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and No Time to Die have led the box office, but their high cost meant they lost money during their theatrical releases at a time when ticket sales are depressed.
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett direct Scream, taking over the series from its founder Wes Craven, the horror maestro who died in 2015. Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid and Dylan Minnette round out the cast of the horror sequel.
Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s Sing 2 captured third place on the domestic box office chart, earning $8.3 million. The film is projected to earn $11 million over the four-day holiday, which will bring its haul to $122.1 million. Another Universal release, The 355, nabbed fourth place, earning $2.3 million. The spy thriller is a commercial dud. It will end the four-day weekend with $2.8 million, which will bring its haul to a disastrous $8.9 million. Don’t hold your breath for The 356.