‘Scream’ To Take On ‘Spider-Man’ Over MLK Weekend
After four weeks of total dominance at the box office, Spider-Man: No Way Home finally faces some solid competition from the legacy slasher franchise Scream. Scream, the fifth installment in Wes Craven’s self-aware horror series, is the biggest new release of the month now that Morbius has vacated its late January release date, and it will likely topple Spider-Man’s winning streak. That is not to say it won’t be another big weekend for No Way Home, though, which by Friday should become the fifth biggest domestic grosser ever and by next weekend should hit the number four spot.

Paramount is keeping Scream theatrical exclusive as they launch it into 3,661 domestic locations. The sequel/reboot features a new creative team taking over after Craven’s passing, with Ready or Not directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett helming a script by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick while the original Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson (also responsible for Scream 2 and Scream 4) is on board as executive producer. The core original cast is back, though, as Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox reprise their roles along with Roger L. Jackson as the voice of Ghostface and some other familiar faces from the earlier films. The new cast of teenagers being terrorized includes Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar. The reviews suggest a playful and meta return to form for the series, and at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes it is the best reviewed installment since Scream 2.

Scream is releasing 11 years after the previous installment Scream 4, which was a box office disappointment compared to the rest of the series. The original 1996 Scream was a surprise smash, going from its $6.4 million opening to a $103 million domestic close and a worldwide cume of $173 million. Scream 2, which released just a year later, opened much bigger with $32.9 million but finished with roughly the same gross. Scream 3, from 2000, fell slightly to $89.1 million domestically while its foreign gross held steady. The fourth film took a huge dive, grossing just $38.1 million domestically and $59 million overseas.

The new Scream is looking to return to the successes of the earlier films as it launches day and date in most of its international markets, and it should benefit in many parts of the U.S. from MLK Day on Monday. Beating Scream 4’s $18.7 million opening is a solid bet, though whether it can get in the $30+ million range of the other sequels is an open question. Either way, it will probably knock Spider-Man off the top slot for the weekend, though things could get heated in next weekend’s rematch if the MCU juggernaut continues with its strong holds and Scream has a large second weekend drop that is typical of horror sequels.

Another notable release this weekend is the Japanese animated film Belle from GKIDS. Belle, which premiered at Cannes, is a modern sci-fi/fantasy riff on Beauty and the Beast and it has met rave reviews with 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The anime was Japan’s third highest grosser of 2021 with $58.3 million, and it comes from director Mamoru Hosoda, known for the 2018 film Mirai. Mirai, which grossed $812k domestically, became the first anime outside of the Studio Ghibli stable to get an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. Belle is releasing on 1,300 screens including select IMAX locations, and it is getting both a subtitled and dubbed release, with Chace Crawford, Manny Jacinto, Hunter Schafer and Kylie McNeill contributing to the English dub.

The Matrix Resurrections is getting a release in China this weekend, a rarity for a Hollywood film these days. The fourth Matrix is among the past year’s biggest box office disappointments, and China is the last major market for it to release in, potentially bringing some relief to the expensive sequel which is only at $125 million worldwide thus far. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: No Way Home keeps swinging higher and higher even without China in play. Currently the eighth highest grossing film of all time worldwide, it is slated to move up to number six in the weeks ahead.