Paramount’s SCREAM VI opened with a chilling $44.5M, a higher total than expected and the best-performing movie of the weekend by far. In fact, it was a better opening than that of any of the earlier SCREAM horror movies, with SCREAM III holding the previous record by earning $34.7M when it opened from 2/4/2000 – 2/6/2000. SCREAM VI also beat out last year’s SCREAM V which earned $30M from 1/14/2022 – 1/16/2022.
Interestingly, this is the third time in the past four weeks that the newest chapter in a movie franchise has had the best opening in its history, after the successful debut of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA and CREED III. This is a strong indication that moviegoing is succeeding in its comeback from the pandemic blues.
The storyline for SCREAM VI follows the four survivors of Ghostface’s latest slashing spree as they leave Woodsboro to start a new chapter in their lives. Once again, the cast is led by Courtney Cox as the resilient Gale Weathers and Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed. SCREAM VI has received mostly positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes where it carries a 78% fresh score with critics, while moviegoers have given it a 93% audience score.
The film was produced on a budget of $35M, so it has already reached profitability in its first few days. All the lights are green for the 27-year-old horror franchise, which began on 12/20/1996 with the opening of the original SCREAM. Based on this success, we expect to see SCREAM VII in short order, with a strong chance that VIII, IX, and X will not be far behind.
Last week’s champ CREED III finished in second place with $27.2M in its second weekend. This is a week-to-week decline of 53%, which is right in line with the second-week drop experienced by both CREED (2015) and CREED II (2018). After ten days, CREED III is on track to become the highest-grossing CREED/ROCKY movie of all time. CREED III’s domestic gross stands now at $101M, and we project it to wind up with $135M or higher, which would top ROCKY IV total run of $125.4M way back in 1985.
Sony’s sci-fi thriller 65 took third place in its opening weekend by earning $12.3 This film stars Adam Driver in a futuristic tale about a spaceship that crash lands on a distant planet only to realize that they have returned to Earth but 65 million years in the past. Despite featuring both space travel AND dinosaurs, the movie has been poorly received, with critics on Rotten Tomatoes tagging it with a 30% Tomatometer score and audiences rating it 57%. The film may struggle to reach break even since it cost $45M to make and it seems likely that it will only sputter along after this weekend’s modest opening results.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA took fourth place in its fourth weekend by selling another $7M in tickets in the U.S. and Canada, a decline of 45% from last week. The worldwide total for the MCU fantasy has risen to more than $426M. Fifth place went to Universal’s COCAINE BEAR which ate up another $6.5M to bring its domestic total to $51.6M and $63M worldwide.
Finishing in seventh place was Focus Features’ CHAMPIONS, which earned $5.2M in its debut weekend. This comedy is the third new wide release of the weekend and was directed by Bobby Farrelly, in his first outing since DUMB AND DUMBER TO in 2014. The story stars Woody Harrelson as a hot-headed minor league basketball coach who is sentenced to perform community service which he fulfills by coaching a Special Olympics team.
While critics are mixed on the film with a 55% RT score, moviegoers are much more positive with a 81% rating. In large part due to a crowded marketplace, CHAMPIONS may struggle to reach $20M domestically and has only limited add-on opportunities in international markets.
The total box office for all films this weekend came in at $117.7M, which compares to $104.5M from the same weekend last year when THE BATMAN enjoyed $66.5M in its second weekend and studios did not offer any new wide-release films.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 3/9
After nine weeks, the 2023 box office stands at 133% compared to the same nine weeks in 2022. The 2023 number is down 19 percentage points from where it stood last weekend in comparison to 2022, because of the effect of THE BATMAN which did well in its opening last year. The first nine weeks of 2023 are 78% of those weeks from 2019.