SUNDAY AM WRITETHRU after Saturday update: We can complain about omicron. But I wouldn’t necessarily complain that the variant is spoiling the top films at the box office, as Paramount/Spyglass Media/Project X’s Scream had a robust first day of $13.3M (including $3.5M Thursday previews), and it eased accordingly on Saturday, just like horror movies do, with $10.1M, on its way to a $31.5M 3-day and $36M 4-day at 3,664 theaters.
“This opening has reinvigorated the franchise for fans, while simultaneously introducing it to a whole new generation of new Scream fans,” beamed Paramount’s Domestic Theatrical Distribution Boss Chris Aronson.
That 4-day beats Mama ($32.1M), the previous high opening for a horror movie over MLK, and overall, Scream‘s 3-day isn’t far from its previous sequel opening highs, Scream 2, which did $32.9M back in 1997, and Scream 3, which made $34.7M back in 2000. A great start to 2022 for Paramount on the big screen. EntTelligence box office analytics firm reports that 2.4M people are watching Scream over 3 days, with 1M on opening day and 250K from Thursday night previews.
Chalk up the success here to the alchemy of paying homage to what’s old with the new: The fresh blood boarding Scream, i.e. scribes James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick and filmmakers Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, didn’t operate in a vacuum when approaching a reboot/sequel of Scream. They brought in the consigliere services of the IP’s architect, Kevin Williamson, who serves as EP here. Paramount believed that the film would play best to a crowd, and kept it relegated to the big screen, versus a day-and-date hybrid approach with its streamer Paramount+.
Some of the intriguing components of Paramount’s marketing campaign for the fifthquel included a partnership with Airbnb, where fans were given the opportunity to stay in the original Scream house, hosted by David Arquette’s Sheriff Dewey Riley, and an online experience hosted by Williamson. “The Stay” sold out in 60 seconds, and the online experience sold out in 90 seconds. Visible, part of the Verizon Wireless family, was also a partner on the film, as well as Urban Outfitters which hosted…Screamings.
Spotify held the “Streamed To Death” program which allowed users to receive a sinister message from Ghostface about their most streamed songs from 2021, while delivering a sharable custom playlist. A first-to-market Twitter Light/Dark Mode branded like emoji gave users different experiences each time they pressed the “heart” button in either mode. On Reddit, fans got to speculate with Scream character “whodunnit” in the first partner-supported predictions tournament, and on TikTok, Paramount launched a First-of-its-Kind Text-To-Speech functionality in the voice of Ghostface.
Soft drink brand Fanta had “Halloween in January” across Latin America, including 2 million limited edition Ghostface cans and a first takeover at convenience stores OXXO, reaching over 26M shoppers in Mexico alone. Fans in the UK and around the globe were able to snatch up a limited edition “Strawberry and Scream” cereal (featuring a screaming box) offered by the British retailer Cereal Killer Café.
Social Media corp RelishMix beams about the advance weekend buzz for Scream, “With a date that was set in stone, unchanged and locked from one year ago, Scream opens solo with positive leaning convo to a potential Covid-proof audience. Fans are shouting on social for Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Ghost Face and David Arquette’s character Dewey as fans are ready for a wild and entertaining distraction into the New Year of cinematic madness. Negative and Covid related chatter runs thin.”
The pic’s campaign across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram counted nine video drops in a week, with YouTube materials clocking close to 60M views. From the last installment 11 years ago, the social media universe for Scream is now at 126.4M, which is 27% above the horror genre norm. By comparison, Halloween Kills had a SMU of 145.1M (opened at $49.4M) and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It counted a SMU at 131.1M (opened at $24.1M). “In other words, social stats are in the ballpark of recent horror films,” reports RelishMix.
Scream‘s actors are well-activated on social media, with Cox at 15.6M followers, Dylan Minnette at 7.9M, Jenna Ortega at 6.8M, Melissa Barrera with over 1M, David Arquette at 468K, and Neve Campbell at 418K. “All are indexing exceptionally well, as fans can see how much fun the cast is having in promotion as well as making the film,” assesses RelishMix.
Barrera gets a call from Cox, this video earning over 2.5M views on the Friends alum’s Instagram:
The hashtag #12Screamsfortheholidays became a push prior to the pic’s launch.
Scream received a B+ CinemaScore, which ties with its highest grade from 1997’s Scream 2. Scream 3 and 4 respectively earned a B and B-, while the first wasn’t monitored by PostTrak as it was a platform release. Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak audiences giving the movie a 79% positive and a 61% recommend. The pic played best in the West, Southcentral, and the Northeast with the Midwest and Southeast slightly under-indexing. On Friday, we heard that 20 locations grossed $25K+ each in the pic’s first day, which is very good. Top markets that over-performed included LA, NY, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Baltimore, Fresno, and Indianapolis while the few top markets that under-indexed include Seattle, SLC, and Minneapolis. Top grossing theaters came from LA, NY, San Antonio, Phoenix, El Paso, Orlando, Pharr TX, Baltimore, Albuquerque, Dallas, Fresno, Corpus Christi, and Houston.
Updated exits show guys leading at 53%, 67% between 18-34, and 58% over 25. On Friday morning, exits showed 80% under 34 years old, indicating that the movie is appealing toward a younger generation. Diversity draw was 46% Caucasian, 33% Latino and Hispanic, 11% Black and 5% Asian. Scream is still being released in Canada theatrically (repped 1.5% of the sequel’s business), even though cinemas are shuttered in the Quebec and Ontario provinces.
EntTellgence reports that Scream played well during the prime shows of 6pm to 9pm with over 40% of the pic’s tickets during this block while 21% came after 9PM. Halloween Kills pulled in a bit more admissions in the late hours with 27% of the tickets being sold after 9PM.
Typically, horror movies are front-loaded, and hopefully there’s enough momentum here for Scream to hit its current opening projections or go higher.
Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home will click close to $704M by the end of the holiday weekend, which would make it the fourth-highest movie of all-time at the domestic box office, besting Black Panther‘s $700M. Sony reports a $5.1M Friday for the Jon Watts-directed title at 3,925 sites for a $20.8M 3-day, $26M 4-day.
GKIDs’ Belle posted $727K on Friday at 1,326 theaters and $486K on Saturday. The outlook for the Mamoru Hosoda directed and Studio Chizu animated movie is $1.64M over 3-days and $2.04M over 4-days. Belle played best in the West and Mountain regions and notched an 86% audience score on PostTrak with a 63% recommend. Men were dominant at 55%, with 83% under 34-years-old and the biggest demo being 25-34 at 39%. Critics loved Belle at 95% Certified Fresh with the diversity draw being 39% Caucasian, 30% Asian/other, 19% Latino and Hispanic and 12% Black.
Overall, we continue to see a situation of “Haves” and “Have-Nots” at the domestic box office, with adult-skewing titles still leaner than event films. Total ticket receipts over four days are only expected to be $92.3M over 4-days, which is 55% off from MLK weekend 2020’s $205.3M before the exhibition shutdown. That’s also when Bad Boys for Life delivered the 4-day holiday’s second-best opening with a $73M start.
Sideshow/Janus Films’ release of Drive My Car, which has been picking up every major award out there on the circuit including of late the Golden Globe for Non-English Language Film, LA Film Critics Best Picture and Screenplay, New York Film Critics Circle top film, and National Society of Films Critics’ top film, top screenplay and Best Actor Hidetoshi Nishijima. The movie expanded from 29 to 65 theaters and saw $78K for the 3-day and is looking at $94K for the 4-day with a running total by EOD Monday of $524k.
Updated weekend estimates as of Sunday AM:
Title/theaters/Fri-Sat-Sun/3-day (% chg)/Total/Weekend no.
1.) Scream (Par) 3,664 theaters Fri $13.3M/Sat $10.1M/ Sun $8.1M/Mon $4.5M/3-day $31.5M, 4-day $36M/Wk 1
2.) Spider-Man: No Way Home(Sony) 3,925 (-87) theaters, Fri $5.2M (-38%) /Sat $8.675M/Sun $6.9M/Mon $5.2M/3-day $20.8M (-36%)/4-day $26M/Total: $703.9M/Wk 4
3.) Sing 2 (Uni/Ill) 3,581 (-132) theaters, Fri $1.79M (-33%)/Sat $3.57M/Sun $2.89M/Mon $2.75M/3-day $8.27M (-29%)/4-day $11M/Total: $122.1M/Wk 4
By the way, a great hold here with Sing 2 — and the movie is on PVOD now. I don’t know what the media is talking about with the fallout of kids films at the box office. This is the only movie in the shadow of Spider-Man: No Way Home to do business over the holidays, a very similar situation to 2015’s Daddy’s Home being the only family film to cross $100M when Star Wars Force Awakens ruled. Once again, Disney’s decision to send Seeing Red to Disney+ has everything to do with spurring subscriber numbers before the end of its quarterly earnings.
4.) The King’s Man (20th/Dis) 2,510 (-530) theaters Fri $639K (-29%)/Sat $937K /Sun $743K/Mon $654K/ 3-day $2.3M (-28%)/4-day $2.9M /Total $29.3M/Wk 4
5.) The 355 (Uni/FilmNation) 3,145 theaters, Fri $670K (-61%)/Sat $950K/Sun $720K/Mon $470K/3-day $2.34M (-49%)/4-day $2.8M /Total $8.9M/Wk 2
6.) American Underdog (LG) 2,512 (-335) theaters, Fri $500K (-30%)/3-day: $1.6M (-21%)/4 day $2.26M/Total: $21.067M/Wk 4
7.) Belle (GKIDS) 1,326 theaters Fri $727K/Sat $486K/Sun $432K/Mon $395K/3-day $1.64M/4-day $2.04M/Wk 1
8.) West Side Story (20th/Dis) 1,460 (-830) theaters, Fri $238K (-38%)/Sat $386K/Sun $324K/Mon 3-day $948K (-31%)/4-day $1.15M/Total $33.9M/Wk 6
9.) Licorice Pizza (UAR) 772 theaters, Fri $252K (-11%)/Sat $360K/Sun $270K/Mon $203k/3-day $883K (-10%)/4-day $1.086M/Total $9.8M/Wk 8
10.) Matrix Resurrections (WB) 1,725 (-1,150) theaters, Fri $220K (-55%) /Sat $340K/Sun $255K/Mon3-day $815K (-56%)/4 day $1M/Total: $36M/Wk 4
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Paramount-Spyglass Media’s Scream made $3.5M from Thursday night previews that began at 7 p.m. at roughly 3,000 theaters.
That’s a healthy take for a horror movie during the pandemic, pacing behind Halloween Kills and A Quiet Place PArt II‘s Thursday nights, which were $4.8M each, and not too far behind pre-pandemic MLK weekend thriller Glass, which did $3.7M in 2019. Glass saw a three-day of $40M, but don’t go comping Scream to that M. Night Shyamalan title yet, given the erratic moviegoer attendance during the pandemic.
The reboot-sequel directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett arguably is the only marquee draw until Feb. 4, along with whatever remaining dollars Spider-Man: No Way Home rakes in; that’s when Lionsgate has Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall and Paramount has Jackass Forever. The hope is that Scream, with a Rotten Tomatoes fresh critics score of 76% and audience score of 90%, can screech past anything in the $20M over four-days. That would be a nice start over the holiday in a pandemic marketplace; the highest opening over MLK weekend for a horror movie being Universal’s Mama, which did $32.1M in 2013. The biggest opening for a horror movie during the pandemic belongs to Universal/Blumhouse/Miramax’s Halloween Kills, which did $49.4M back in October. That was with a day-and-date Peacock in-home availability built in, but also when more blockbusters were back-to-back in cinemas. Halloween Kills fell short of $100M with $92M stateside.
Paramount and Spyglass Media co-financed Scream at $24M before P&A.
In addition last night, Paramount held a Scream Opening Night Fan Event at select theaters nationwide, which featured a live Q&A with actor David Arquette, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett and Scream executive producer and creator Kevin Williamson, as well as a pre-taped talent intro and extended bonus content featuring the new cast with behind-the-scenes footage. That event took place at 5 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. CT and 8 p.m. ET at participating theaters.
Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home took in $2.1M on Thursday at 4,012 theaters, -4% from Wednesday taking its cume through the end of week 4 to $677.95M. The Jon Watts-directed movie will become the fifth-highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office today, passing 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, which counts $678.8M. Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther ranks as the fourth-biggest movie stateside with $700.4M.
In second place was Illumination/Universal’s Sing 2 with an estimated $555K on Thursday, +3%, for a running total through the end of Week 3 of $111M.
The other wide release this weekend is Gkids’ Belle at 1,300 locations. The movie opened Wednesday in 130 theaters, has expanded to 995 sites and counts a two day total of $335K. Pic will play in 40 Imax auditoriums this weekend as well as venues such as The Landmark in LA, BAM in NYC and The Roxie in San Francisco.