‘Scream VI’ Adds March Box Office Momentum Launch ‘Creed III’

“Scream VI” (Paramount) opened with a surprisingly high $44.5 million this weekend. That’s up 48 percent from the initial 2022 franchise reboot, which took in $30 million in its opening weekend.

That’s on top of last weekend’s debut ($58 million) for “Creed III” (MGM), which far beat expectations and similarly improved over the previous series’ sequel. It’s all more positive news in a month that has two more promising titles — “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” (Warner Bros. Discovery) and especially “John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate).

“Scream’s” run has been impressive, especially since its January 2022 predecessor opened with much less competition and on a holiday weekend. Paramount, as is their custom these days, bailed on the budget (estimated production cost was $33 million) and sold it as an original despite the series’ longevity. Once again they exceeded expectations.

Particularly impressive: 38 percent of the audience for “Scream VI” was Hispanic and Latino, compared to 33 percent for last year’s “Scream.” This is partly due to the rising stars of Melissa Barrera and especially Jenna Ortega, who is one of the biggest breakouts of recent times.

Don’t blame Paramount for one misleading claim. Yes, it’s the biggest opening for a “Scream” movie, if you ignore the lower ticket prices of the initial series. In reality, despite the media hype, three of the previous sequels grossed between $55 million and $75 million in adjusted earnings. Revenue is booming, but it was the franchise’s fourth-highest opening in terms of attendance.




Two other new films, both originals, also opened wide to minor gains. Sony’s time-travel thriller “65,” starring Adam Driver, from a coveted script by the two writers of “A Quiet Place,” came in third with $12.3 million. As usual, Sony has yet to announce Cinemascore. Saturday’s result was seven percent better than its initial preview/Friday gross (“Scream VI” was down 20 percent Friday-Saturday), but it will have to hold up very well to improve its long-term prospects against a still-modest $45 million budget. .

Bobby Farrelly’s “Champions” (Focus), with Woody Harrelson coaching a basketball team of disabled youth, was at or near No. 6 ($25,000 behind “The Jesus Revolution”/Lionsgate at No. 7) 5,150,000 with dollars. It was Cinemascore, which is reflected in Saturday’s 13 percent jump. This lower-cost release, which sells 83 percent of tickets to those 25 and over, could hold its own for the next few weeks before picking up interest once it hits PVOD.

Second-place earner “Creed III” dropped 53 percent from its debut weekend, which is a decent hold from its elevated opening, even more so when you consider the new competition. It has already crossed $100 million. It looks to be hovering around $150 million domestically, which is a significant jump from the first two even with the higher ticket prices.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (Disney) is #4. But $7 million in its fourth weekend is a small price to pay for Marvel. Their three 2022 releases were between $13 million and $17 million in the same week. The current film is only $187 million domestically, the highest grosser. Not good.

The weekend total will be around $120 million, up from last weekend’s $107 million and up two percent from last year. This means that 2023 will exceed the same period of 2022 by 28 percent. That decent jump has started to wane as expected, and stronger comparisons in 2022 continue to erode 2023’s year-to-date lead. If the whole year were to improve by 28 percent, it would be $9.3 billion in 2023.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney) held on to the top 10 with just 26 percent at No. 8. In unadjusted numbers and $675 million, that’s ahead of “Titanic.” The reality is that James Cameron’s previous film grossed more than $1.5 billion at current ticket prices. For a more accurate comparison, in 1998, in its 13th weekend, “Titanic” was still in first place with $17.5 million, or $40 million today. That’s about 15 times more tickets than “The Way of Water” sold at the same point.

Two third-weekly lower-budget original titles hang well. “Cocaine Bear” (Universal) crossed $50 million, while “The Jesus Revolution” (Lionsgate) is close to $40 million. “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village” (Crunchyroll) crashed in its second weekend, 81 percent.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE AT ONCE by Michelle Yeoh, 2022. ph: Allyson Riggs /© A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Everything everywhere at once”

Courtesy of the Everett Collection

In a sign of the times, for the second weekend in a row, not a single new limited special film grossed. Whatever residual value is about to end in most Oscar-nominated titles, it’s not a good look for this audience segment. Stand out from the competition “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) adds another $350,000 in its 51st week, and the 2023 nominated shorts package (ShortsTV) is now estimated at $2.8 million. Three years ago, pre-Covid, the final tally was $3.3 million, so that’s a decent performance.

The Top 10

1. Scream VI (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 61; Evening. budget: $35 million

$44,500,000 in 3,675 theaters; PTA (per-theater average): $12,109; Total: $44,500,000

2. Creed III (MGM) Week 2; #1 last weekend

$27,100,000 (-53%) at 4,007 (unchanged) theaters; PTA: $6,781; Total: $101,358,000

3. 65 (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore (not reported):; Metacritic: 40; Evening. budget: $45 million

$12,300,000 in 3,405 theaters; PTA: $3,612; Total: $12,300,000

4. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Disney) Week 4; #2 last weekend

$7,000,000 (-45%) at 3,150 theaters (-720); PTA: $2,254; Total: $197,978,000

5. Cocaine Bear (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$6,200,000 (-44%) in 3,204 (-367) theaters; PTA: $1,935; Total: $51,650,000

6. The revolution of Jesus (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #5

$5,175,000 (-39%) in 2,519 (-56) theaters; PTA: 2010 USD; Total: $39,453,000

7. Champions (Focus) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 50

$5,150,000 in 3,030 theaters; PTA: $1,700; Total: $5,150,000

8. Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney) Week 13; Last weekend #6

$2,700,000 (-26%) in 1,675 (-625) theaters; PTA: $1,612; Total: $674,697,000

9. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the village of the swordsmith (Crunchyroll) Week 2; #4 last weekend

$1,891,000 (-81%) in 1,690 (-90) theaters; PTA: $; Total: $12,088,000

10. Puss in Boots: The last wish (Universal) Week 12; Last weekend #8; Also on PVOD

$1,650,000 (-40%) in 1,816 (-772) theaters; PTA: $909; Total: $179,627,000

Other titles

Films (limited, extended, limited release, and award-oriented release) are listed by week of release, starting with those released that week; after the first two weeks, only films grossing over $5,000 are tracked.

The quiet girl (Neon) Week 3

$400,000 in 244 (+226) theaters; Total: $591,340

2023 Oscar Short Films (Shorts TV) Week 4 250

$(est.) 320,000 in 248 (-2) theaters; Total: $2,880,000 (estimate).

Back to Seoul (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4

$77,963 in 43 (+5) theaters; Total: $326,845

Emily (Bleecker Street) Week 4

$29,807 in 78 (-487) theaters; Total: $1,061,000

Closure (A24) Week 7

$19,802 in 79 (-74) theaters; Total: $1,076,000

Live (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 12

$77,598 at 121 (-227) theaters; Total: $2,932,000

The whale (A24) Week 14; Also on PVOD

$60,201 at 106 (-59) theaters; Total: $17,027,000

The Fablemen (Universal) Week 18; Also on VOD

$55,000 at 567 (-24) theaters; Total: $17,332,000

The Banshees of Inisherin (Examination light) Week 21; Also on HBO Max and VOD

$44,000 in 505 (+235) theaters; Total: $10,583,000

After sunbathing (A24) Week 22; Also on VOD

$9,544 at 12 (-2) theaters; Total: $1,659,000

TAR (In Focus) Week 23; Also on VOD

$38,000 at 185 (-259) theaters; Total: $6,748,000

Everything Everywhere At Once (A24) Week 51; Also on PVOD

$350,683 at 584 (-52) theaters; Total: $73,787,000

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