Box Office: ‘Scream VI’ Aims to Slash Franchise Opening Weekend Record With $35 Million

Half a dozen movies in, and the bloodletting hasn’t eased up — or gotten less popular. “Scream VI,” the latest installment in the long-running horror series, looks to slash its way to new opening weekend heights at the box office. Paramount is releasing the film in 3,670 North American theaters on Friday.

Based on early estimates, “Scream VI” is projected to debut to at least $35 million and as much as $40 million over the weekend. As of now, 2000’s “Scream 3” remains the franchise’s top opener with $34 million.

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Records aside, the newest entry is expected to improve upon the start of last year’s hit “Scream” (not to be confused with 1996’s “Scream”), which scored a solid $30 million debut in January. By bringing back franchise stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette — and adding in newcomers Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega and Dylan Minnette — to the quiet town of Woodsboro, 2022’s “Scream” earned positive reviews and ended its box office run with $81 million domestically and $137 million. Not too shabby, considering it cost $25 million and was released amid the omicron COVID surge.

Given the warm embrace from fans and box office returns to match, Paramount and Spyglass quickly set in motion yet another “Scream.” The sixth chapter cost $35 million. Executives cleverly promoted “Scream VI” by sending the franchise’s notorious slasher Ghostface to ominously stand around U.S. landmarks to promote the film. Some onlookers who spotted the knife-wielding masked murderer in the flesh were so disturbed (and, in this day and age, can you blame them?), a few of them reportedly called the police.

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, “Scream VI” follows survivors of Ghostface’s murders as they leave Woodsboro behind for a fresh start in New York City. But, really, who were they kidding? While in the Big Apple, they find themselves fighting for their lives when a new Ghostface killer embarks on a bloody rampage. Barrera, Ortega, Cox and Hayden Panettiere return for “Scream VI,” which will be the first installment without Campbell’s Sidney Prescott. The actor departed the film because she felt “the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise.”

“Scream VI” will contend with last weekend’s champ “Creed III” — which opened mightily with $58 million — for first place on box office charts. Those films, as well as upcoming releases “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” (March 17), “John Wick: Chapter 4” (March 24) and “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (March 31), look to continue a strong month at the box office.

Also new to theaters on Friday: Sony’s prehistoric sci-fi thriller “65” and Focus Features’ heartwarming comedy “Champions.” Each film is projected to open in the single digits.

Adam Driver stars in “65” as a pilot who crash-lands on a mysterious planet that happens to be Earth… 65 million years ago. Bron and TSG co-financed the $45 million-budgeted movie with Sony.

Directed by Bobby Farrelly, “Champions” follows Woody Harrelson as a temperamental minor-league basketball coach. After he finds himself in legal trouble, he has to mentor a team of players with intellectual disabilities to fulfill a community service requirement.

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