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Scream Has A Killer Opening Weekend As Ghostface Steals Spider-Man's Box Office Crown

A bloody Neve Campbell entering a room with a gun in Scream.
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

When Wes Craven's Scream 4 was released in April 2011, it didn't actually do particularly well. It came out the same weekend as Carlos Saldanha's animated hit Rio, and it had to settle for second place in its opening after making only $18.7 million in its first three days. Those results had their own way of dampening expectations for Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett's Scream – but much like franchise serial killer Ghostface, the new film has surprised in a big way.

Check out the full Top 10 for this weekend below, and join me after for analysis!

Weekend Box Office January 14-16 2022 Scream

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

TITLEWEEKEND GROSSDOMESTIC GROSSLWTHTRS
1. Scream$30,600,000 $30,600,000 3,664
2. Spider-Man: No Way Home$20,800,000 $698,724,074 13,925
3. Sing 2$8,270,000 $119,358,855 23,581
4. The 355$2,340,000 $8,417,505 33,145
5. The King’s Man$2,319,000 $28,683,614 42,510
6. Belle$1,645,800 $1,645,800 1,326
7. American Underdog$1,600,000 $21,067,238 52,512
8. West Side Story$948,000 $33,767,804 71,460
9. The Matrix Resurrections$815,000 $35,815,526 61,725
10. Ghostbusters: Afterlife$785,000 $126,124,249 81,202

When prognosticators started placing their final bets last week about the opening weekend performance of Scream, there was a conservative vibe flowing as estimates suggested a domestic haul in the range of $20 million – but the slasher sequel was able to vastly exceed that expectation. What's more, it's reputation is only expected to be enhanced by the final results of the three-day weekend, as audiences are predicted to keep buying tickets during tomorrow's Martin Luther King Day holiday.

Without adjusting for inflation, the performance for the new Scream (which is colloquially referred to as Scream 5) is much more in line with the franchise standard than Scream 4 was. Wes Craven's original Scream only made $6 million in its first Friday-to-Sunday before becoming a $100 million hit – but both of the Craven sequels that followed it, Scream 2 and Scream 3, made north of $30 million in their debuts (specifically $32.9 million and $34.7 million respectively).

With its reported $24 million budget (according to The Numbers) 2022's Scream is well on its way to being a big hit, and it could ultimately revive the franchise in a major way. Properly meta, the film is an examination of the "requel" trend – a la Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Halloween, and Terminator: Dark Fate – and as such it establishes a new generation of heroes who could possibly wind up being at the heart of these movies for many years to come.

Ghostface in Scream (2022)

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

How Big Is The Spoiler Factor In Scream's Success?

Given how depressed the box office has been in recent weeks with the exception of Jon Watts' Spider-Man: No Way Home, the success of Scream has to be viewed as a massive win for the movie industry in general, and there are going to be a lot of analysts who try and dissect the situation to figure out why the horror sequel did as well as it did. The results will point to a number of different variables, but what I personally find fascinating about these figures is the potential major influence of the spoiler factor.

Examined side-by-side, there isn't a great deal about Spider-Man: No Way Home and Scream that stands out as comparable – minus the fact that they are both part of long-established franchises. The former is a PG-13 action-adventure blockbuster targeted at audiences of all ages, while the latter is an R-rated slasher fest that is very much only intended for adults. All that being said, one thing that they both had going into their theatrical release was a marketing push specifically asking movie-goers not to ruin the surprises that the respective features contain.

While audiences have demonstrated "patience" with a number of new releases, waiting until they hit streaming platforms before giving them a watch (regardless of critical buzz), Scream and Spider-Man: No Way Home have stood out as exceptions, and one has to wonder if a main cause is people wanting to experience the big surprises for themselves and not risk accidentally having big reveals ruined while scrolling through social media.

All this in mind, it wouldn't be surprising in the slightest to see studios start marketing all of their major releases this way in the months to come. It could create a spike in ticket sales – though there will be some major risk involved if a film promotes twists and shocks that it doesn't actually deliver. 

After Wowing Critics, Japanese Animated Film Belle Has A Solid U.S. Debut. 

With Scream being one of the few big titles released this month, no other major studio opted to release any features against it – but still one other new release did debut in 1,000+ screens: Mamoru Hosoda's Belle. An import from Japan that earned critical-acclaim following its debut at last year's Cannes Film Festival, the movie didn't exactly make a massive splash in its domestic opening, taking sixth place overall, but it did succeed in generating an impressive per-theater average.

Belle made $1.6 million playing in 1,236 theaters, and that's a $1,241 average per location. That's the fourth best performance of this weekend, ahead of Simon Kinberg's The 355 ($744 per theater), and Matthew Vaughn's The King's Man ($924 per theater).  To date the movie has made $57.7 million worldwide.

Spider-Man: No Way Home And Sing 2 Slip In The Rankings, But Still Continue To Make Money

The success of Scream means that the reign of Spider-Man: No Way Home at the box office has come to an end, having been king since mid-December, but what's still pretty damn impressive is just how much money it continues to make. Had Scream only made as much as prognosticators predicted, there was a chance that it wouldn't have dethroned the wall-crawler, as the additional $20.8 million made by the Marvel blockbuster remains an impressive sum. It's only a 36 percent drop from the last Friday-to-Sunday, and the total would have still been enough to earn it first place last weekend.

To a lesser degree, Garth Jennings' Sing 2 is pulling off a similar feat. The movie came out as a theatrical exclusive at the end of last month, and while it's been constantly overshadowed by the juggernaut that is Spider-Man: No Way Home, it actually now ranks as the 11th highest grossing title of 2021 domestically – and it will soon take down Shawn Levy's Free Guy to enter the Top 10.

Looking ahead to next week, will Scream be able to stay at the top spot? Will it be toppled by a resurging Spider-Man: No Way Home? Or could D.J. Caruso's Redeeming Love become a surprise new number one? Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend on Sunday to read the recap, and check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar to discover all of the films hitting the big screen and streaming in the coming months. 

Eric Eisenberg
Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.