Box Office: Scream Set to Dethrone Spider-Man With $36 Million Holiday Weekend Debut

Do you like scary movies? North American audiences still do, even as most other theatrical releases continue to struggle amid a pandemic. “Scream” is the latest horror film to make a sizable impression at the domestic box office, with an opening weekend that should finally dethrone “Spider-Man: No Way Home” after the Marvel entry’s four-week reign in the top slot.

Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media’s “Scream,” the fifth installment in the horror franchise and the first in over a decade, grossed $13.35 million on Friday from 3,664 locations. The studio projects that the horror film should rake in a solid $36 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, more than enough to land at No. 1 for the weekend. What’s more, the thrifty “requel” only cost $25 million to produce, a number that the release should easily rocket past before the weekend is out. Not too shabby for a January release unleashed on the moviegoing public amid a colossal spike of COVID-19 and its more transmissible omicron variant. “Scream” is evidence that audiences will still roll out to theaters during the pandemic, especially for franchise appointment cinema targeting a demographic of younger viewers.

Should Paramount’s projections pan out, the $36 million haul for “Scream” would compare favorably to other recent hit horror sequels at the domestic box office, including the $49.4 million debut for Universal’s “Halloween Kills” and the $47.5 million opening for Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II.” The opening is also a marked improvement for the “Scream” franchise, as 2011’s “Scream 4” opened to a softer $19.3 million, ultimately landing at a $38.2 million final gross.

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett direct “Scream,” taking over the series from its founder Wes Craven, who helmed the four first entries before dying in 2015.  The film stars series regulars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette as they are once again haunted by a serial killer in a Ghostface mask. The killing spree extends to a group of high school students in the town of Woodsboro, Calif. Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid and Dylan Minnette also star in the slasher.

The reboot has earned fairly positive reviews, with Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman writing: “Is it fun? Mostly, yes. Surprising? It keeps faking you out about who the killer is, and playing that guessing game is part of the film’s suspense, but it’s a suspense based on the fact that the film can stay one step ahead of us in a totally arbitrary way.” The film holds a 75% critical aggregate on Rotten Tomatoes, while audiences assigned a “B+” CinemaScore rating, indicating overall approval from general ticketgoers.

Meanwhile, Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is still going strong, weeks after its supermassive debut. The MCU entry took in $5.15 million on Friday, heading for the box office’s runner-up slot with a $26.75 million holiday weekend total. That puts the Tom Holland vehicle on track to surpass a $700 million domestic cume before Monday — about as successful as a North American theatrical release can be, for all intents and purposes. After this weekend, “No Way Home” will only stand behind “Avatar” ($760 million), “Avengers: Endgame” ($858 million) and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($936 million) in the record books of domestic box office totals.

Universal’s “Sing 2” will take third with a favorable 26% drop for the weekend. The animated sequel is projected to earn another $11.42 million by Tuesday, expanding its domestic total to $122.5 million. That’s an enviable result for an animated theatrical release during the pandemic, as family-friendly films have been struggling at the box office over the past year. Case in point: the first “Sing” landed at a domestic total of $270.3 million in 2016.

Fourth place should go to Disney and 20th Century Studios’ long-delayed prequel “The King’s Man.” The action film has enjoyed some healthy holds since debuting over the holidays, with this weekend projecting a 26% drop. However, the prequel got off on the wrong foot by cratering in its opening and should only scrape its way past $30 million over the next week.

Capping off the top five is Universal’s sophomore weekend of “The 355.” The film is facing a 48% drop-off from its opening with a projected $2.87 million four-day gross. With a reported $40 million production budget, the espionage ensemble piece has no hope of recouping that total from North American theaters.

Meanwhile, GKIDS’ release of the anime film “Belle” is making a modest impression in its debut. The latest from director Mamoru Hosoda is projected to earn $1.91 million over the holiday weekend from 1,350 locations — good for seventh place at the domestic box office.

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