‘Scream’ scares off ‘Spider-Man’ with USD30.6M debut

Jake Coyle

NEW YORK (AP) – After a month at number one, Spider-Man: No Way Home has finally been overtaken at the box office. Paramount Pictures’ Scream reboot debuted with USD30.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Scream, a self-described “requel” that is both the fifth film in the franchise and a reboot introducing a new, younger cast, led all releases over the Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend.

Paramount forecasts that it will total USD35 million including yesterday’s grosses.

Scream, which cost about USD24 million to make, added another USD18 million in 50 international markets.

That made for a solid revival for the self-aware slasher franchise. Rights to the Scream films, once a reliable cash cow for Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s Miramax Films, were acquired by Spyglass Media Group, which produced the new film with Paramount. This Scream, helmed by Matt Bettinello-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, was the first not directed by Wes Craven, who died in 2015. It features original Scream cast members Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette alongside new additions Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega and Jack Quaid.

Most notably, Scream is the first box-office success in a year that Hollywood hopes will see a return to weekly stability at movie theatres. January is typically a quiet period at the box office, but the surge of the Omicron variant in COVID-19 has further upended release plans of some winter movies.

ABOVE & BELOW: Images released by Paramount Pictures show Neve Campbell (L), Courteney Cox and Ghostface in scenes from ‘Scream’. PHOTOS: AP

“All of our traditional measures were indicating a solid opening, but as I kept telling people: We’re still in this thing and it’s very difficult to determine what will actually happen,” said distribution chief for Paramount Chris Aronson. “Now we’re open, people have seen the movie and we’re off and running. Hopefully this becomes another building block toward building the business back and getting it back to some semblance of normalcy.”

Meanwhile, Spider-Man: No Way Home slipped to second place but continued to rise in the record books.

No Way Home grossed USD20.8 million in its fifth weekend of release. Sony Pictures predicts that with another USD5.2 million on Martin Luther King Jr Day, No Way Home was expected to reach a domestic cumulative total of USD703.9 million, edging Black Panther and moving into fourth place all-time. That puts it behind only Avatar (USD760 million), Avengers: Endgame (USD858 million) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (USD936 million). Globally, No Way Home has grossed USD1.6 billion.

Universal Pictures’ Sing 2 landed in third place in its fourth weekend with USD8.3 million over the three-day weekend. The animated sequel has grossed USD122.1 million domestically and USD96.3 million internationally.

While the debut of Scream could be celebrated by Paramount, which postponed most of its top 2021 releases to 2022 (movies including Top Gun: Maverick and Mission Impossible 7), its performance also typified current box-office realities. Superhero movies and genre films that appeal to younger audiences have bounced back to near pre-pandemic levels, while films skewing older haven’t.

Scream, which received largely favourable reviews (81 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and a B+ CinemaScore from audiences, fared better than the last installment, 2011’s Scream 4. That film launched with USD19.3 million. The audience for the new Scream was 42 per cent under the age of 25, Sony said. But any success needs to pull from various demographics, and Scream also appealed to fans of the early franchise entries. Some 23 per cent of ticket buyers were over 35.

The only other new widely released movie over the weekend was Belle, Mamoru Hosoda’s critically acclaimed anime riff on Beauty and the Beast. It debuted with USD1.6 million in 1,326 theatres.