Box Office: ‘Scream’ Opens to $3.5 Million in Thursday Previews

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Scream” scared up $3.5 million in Thursday previews, a solid result for a franchise that is comfortably in its third decade.

The Paramount and Spyglass Media slasher reboot is on pace to gross a bloody good $30 million in its opening weekend, buoyed by strong reviews and a passionate fanbase. It also helps that the target audience for “Scream” skews younger and thus isn’t quite as likely to be cinema-averse while there’s a highly contagious omicron variant about.

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In terms of other recent horror films, “Scream’s” results compare favorably to “Halloween Kills,” which earned $4.9 million in Thursday previews en route to a $49.4 million opening, and “A Quiet Place Part II,” which earned $4.8 million before ultimately grossing $47.5 million in its debut weekend.

The other good news for Paramount is that “Scream” only cost $25 million to produce. That means the film stands to be wildly profitable for the studio if it meets or exceeds expectations. Oh, and it should spawn more sequels, ensuring that “Scream,” like “Halloween” or “Hellraiser,” will continue to be a franchise that cannot be killed off.

The “V/H/S” and “Ready or Not” team of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett take over directing duties from Wes Craven, the franchise founder who died in 2015 at age 76. “Scream” doesn’t just share a title with the 1996 original. It brings back franchise favorites Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Neve Campbell to the town of Woodsboro, Calif., where someone with a very familiar Ghostface mask is lowering the life expectancy of the high schoolers in the idyllic community. “In the Heights” star Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega (“Jane the Virgin”), Dylan Minnette of “13 Reasons Why” fame and Jack Quaid round out the ensemble — some will die, others will survive the bloodletting to reappear in the inevitable sequels.

“Scream” currently enjoys an enviable 76% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman was mostly bullish on the film with a few reservations, writing, “Is it fun? Mostly, yes. Surprising? It keeps faking you out about who the killer is, and playing that guessing game is part of the film’s suspense, but it’s a suspense based on the fact that the film can stay one step ahead of us in a totally arbitrary way.”

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