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Scream made plenty of noise as it opened in select theaters Thursday night, grossing a strong $3.5 million in Thursday previews despite challenges posed by the omicron variant and another surge in COVID-19 cases.
The slasher pic began rolling out at 7 p.m. local time across the country in roughly 3,000 locations. By Friday morning, it will be playing in more than 3,666 theaters.
The slasher film opens more than 25 years after Wes Craven’s Scream turned into a horror sensation. The new film, from Paramount and Spyglass, is the fifth title in the series and a direct sequel to 2011’s Scream 4. It is also the first not to be directed by Wes Craven, who passed away in 2015.
Instead, Matt Bettinello-Olpin and Tyler Gillett share directing duties. This time, the Scream team sees franchise mainstays Cox and Campbell, along with Marley Shelton, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Heather Matarazzo and Roger L. Jackson reprise their roles, while newcomers include Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Dylan Minnette and Jack Quaid.
Scream is widely expected to be a boost for the box office over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend with a four-day gross as high as $30 million or more. (Horror and superheroes are the two genres that have fared the best throughout the pandemic era, as they attract moviegoers ages 18-34, the demo most willing to return to the mulitplex.)
Last year, Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II took in $4.9 million in Thursday previews; ditto for Universal’s Halloween Kills. Both were follow-ups to more recent hits. Scream came in well ahead of Candyman, another pandemic horror release that grossed $1.9 million in previews. In terms of pre-pandemic films, M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass earned $3.7 million in previews in early 2019.
Scream follows a new Ghostface-masked killer who pursues a group of teenagers trying to learn about the town’s past.
Jan. 16, 7:10 a.m.: Correction made to previous misspelling of Scream castmember Marley Shelton’s name.
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