Scream VI leads the box office with $44.5 million

LOS ANGELES — Oscars weekend belonged to “Scream VI” in theaters as the horror sequel grossed a franchise best of $44.5 million in domestic ticket sales, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group co-production exceeded all expectations, easily surpassing the previous series high of $32 million that opened Scream 2 in 1997. The film’s robust debut, which came just as Hollywood was turning 95, was another reminder of how horror has become one of the industry’s few sure things at the box office.

After being dormant for more than a decade, the “Scream” franchise, previously directed by Wes Craven and released by Dimension Films, has found a new home with a young cast led by “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera mature revival found.

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have brought back the 27-year series’ meta-slasher stories and serial killer Ghostface, and it’s paying off. Last year, Scream V grossed $137 million worldwide on a production budget of $24 million. In the latest chapter, Courtney Cox returns as reporter Gale Weathers, as does Scream IV veteran Hayden Panettiere. But it’s the first Scream movie without Neve Campbell.

“Scream VI,” which quickly got the green light after the success of “V,” was fairly well received by both critics and audiences. It has a freshness rating of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers gave it a “B+” CinemaScore, a decent grade for a horror film.

Last week’s top film, Creed III, slipped to second place after a better-than-expected start. Michael B. Jordan’s MGM spin-off “Rocky,” starring him and Jonathan Majors, made $27.1 million in its second weekend. It quickly surpassed the $100 million mark in US and Canadian theaters.

Columbia Pictures’ ’65,’ a sci-fi thriller starring Adam Driver as a space explorer stranded on prehistoric Earth, opened in third place with an estimated $12.3 million across 3,405 locations. This might also be better than expected for a film that has received terrible reviews from critics. (It scored just 35% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.) But “65” reportedly had a whopping production budget of about $90 million, not counting tax refunds.

Bobby Farrelly’s “Champions,” starring Woody Harrelson as a disgraced coach trying to lead a basketball team to the Special Olympics, opened with $5.2 million at 3,030 locations. Audiences (an “A” CinemaScore) liked it more than reviewers (53% agree). rotten tomatoes).

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