‘Scream VI’ Adds to the March Box Office Momentum ‘Creed III’ Started

12 March 2023

“Scream VI” (Paramount) opened to a surprisingly high gross of $44.5 million this weekend. That’s 48 percent bigger than 2022’s initial franchise reboot, which took in $30 million its initial weekend.

This comes on top of the debut of “Creed III” (MGM) last weekend ($58 million), which went way beyond expectations and similarly showed improvement over its previous series sequel. All this is additional positive news in a month that still has two promising titles — “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” (Warner Bros. Discovery) and especially “John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate) — still to come.

The uptick for “Scream” is impressive, particularly since its January 2022 predecessor opened against far less competition and on a holiday weekend. Paramount, as is now its custom, provided box office on a budget (the estimated production cost is $33 million), and sold it despite the longevity of the series as something original. They again exceeded expectations.

Particularly impressive: 38 percent of the audience for “Scream VI” was Hispanic and Latino, up from 33% for last year’s “Scream.” That partly could be due to the rising stars of Melissa Barrera and, especially, Jenna Ortega, who is one of the biggest breakouts in recent memory.

Don’t blame Paramount for one misleading claim. Yes, this is the biggest opening for a “Scream” film if one ignores lower ticket prices for initial series titles. In reality, despite media hype, three of the earlier sequels opened to adjusted grosses of between $55 million and $75 million. Grossing are rebounding, but in terms of attendance this was the fourth highest opening in the franchise.

“65”

screenshot/Sony

Two other new films, both originals, also opened wide to lesser results. Sony’s time-travel thriller “65” with Adam Driver, from the hotly pursued script by two writers of “A Quiet Place,” arrived with $12.3 million in third place. Sony, as is its habit, hasn’t reported the Cinemascore yet. It had a seven percent better Saturday over initial preview/Friday grosses (“Scream VI” was down 20 percent from Friday to Saturday), but it will need to hold very well to improve its long-term prospects versus a still modest $45 million budget.

Bobby Farrelly’s “Champions” (Focus), with Woody Harrelson coaching a basketball team of disabled youths, came in at #6 or close (only $25,000 separates it from #7 title “The Jesus Revolution”/Lionsgate) with $5,150,000. It had an A Cinemascore, reflected in its 13 percent Saturday jump. This lower-cost release, with 83 percent of tickets sold to age-25-and-older audiences, might hold in over future weeks before its potential for heightened interest when it hits PVOD.

#2 earner “Creed III” fell 53 percent from its debut weekend, a decent hold from that elevated opening, more so when you consider the new competition. It has already passed $100 million. It looks headed for around $150 million domestic, a substantial jump from the first two even with the benefit of higher ticket prices.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (Disney) is #4. But its fourth weekend $7 million gross is low-end for Marvel. Their three 2022 releases did between $13 million and $17 million the same week. The current film is only at $187 million domestic so far, with most of its gross in. Not good.

The weekend total will be around $120 million, up from $107 million last weekend and two percent above last year. That puts 2023 so far at 28 percent above the same stretch of 2022. This decent jump has started declining, as expected, with stronger comparisons from 2022 continuing to reduce 2023’s year to date edge. If the full year improved 28 percent, 2023 would come to $9.3 billion.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney) had the best Top 10 hold, off only 26 percent at #8. In unadjusted numbers and $675 million, that puts it ahead of “Titanic.” The reality is James Cameron’s earlier film grossed at current ticket prices over $1.5 billion. To make a more pointed comparison — in 1998, in its 13th weekend, “Titanic” was still #1, with $17.5 million, equal to $40 million at today’s prices. That’s about 15 times more tickets sold than “The Way of Water” did at the same point.

Two third-week lower-budget original titles are hanging in well. “Cocaine Bear” (Universal) passed $50 million, while “The Jesus Revolution” (Lionsgate) is nearing $40 million. “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village” (Crunchyroll) collapsed though its second weekend, off 81 percent.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Courtesy Everett Collection

In a sign of the times, for the second straight weekend not a single new limited specialized film reported grosses. With whatever residual value from most Oscar nominated titles ending soon, that’s not a good look for this audience segment. Stand out among contenders  — “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) adding another $350,000 in its 51st week, and the estimate for the 2023 package of nominated shorts (ShortsTV) now at a cumulative $2.8 million. Three years ago, pre-Covid, the eventual total was $3.3 million, so this is a decent performance.

The Top 10 

1. Scream VI (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 61; Est. budget: $35 million

$44,500,000 in 3,675 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $12,109; Cumulative: $44,500,000

2. Creed III (MGM) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$27,100,000 (-53%) in 4,007 (no change) theaters; PTA: $6,781; Cumulative: $101,358,000

3. 65 (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore (not reported):; Metacritic: 40; Est. budget: $45 million

$12,300,000 in 3,405 theaters; PTA: $3,612; Cumulative: $12,300,000

4. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #2

$7,000,000 (-45%) in 3,150 theaters (-720); PTA: $2,254; Cumulative: $197,978,000

5. Cocaine Bear (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$6,200,000 (-44%) in 3,204 (-367) theaters; PTA: $1,935; Cumulative: $51,650,000

6. Jesus Revolution (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #5

$5,175,000 (-39%) in 2,519 (-56) theaters; PTA: $2,010; Cumulative: $39,453,000

7. Champions (Focus) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 50

$5,150,000 in 3,030 theaters; PTA: $1,700; Cumulative: $5,150,000

8. Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney) Week 13; Last weekend #6

$2,700,000 (-26%) in 1,675 (-625) theaters; PTA: $1,612; Cumulative: $674,697,000

9. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village (Crunchyroll) Week 2; Last weekend #4

$1,891,000 (-81%) in 1,690 (-90) theaters; PTA: $; Cumulative: $12,088,000

10. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal) Week 12; Last weekend #8; also on PVOD

$1,650,000 (-40%) in 1,816 (-772) theaters; PTA: $909; Cumulative: $179,627,000

Other Specialized titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited, as well as awards-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first two weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are tracked.

The Quiet Girl (Neon) Week 3

$400,000 in 244  (+226) theaters; Cumulative: $591,340

2023 Oscar Shorts (Shorts TV) Week 4    250

$(est.) 320,000  in 248 (-2) theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) 2,880,000

Return to Seoul (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4

$77,963 in 43 (+5) theaters; Cumulative: $326,845

Emily (Bleecker Street) Week 4

$29,807 in 78 (-487) theaters; Cumulative: $1,061,000

Close (A24) Week 7

$19,802 in 79 (-74) theaters; Cumulative: $1,076,000

Living (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 12

$77,598 in 121 (-227) theaters; Cumulative: $2,932,000

The Whale (A24) Week 14; also on PVOD

$60,201 in  106 (-59) theaters;  Cumulative: $17,027,000

The Fabelmans (Universal) Week 18; also on VOD

$55,000 in 567 (-24) theaters; Cumulative: $17,332,000

The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight) Week 21; also on HBO Max and VOD

$44,000 in 505 (+235) theaters; Cumulative: $10,583,000

Aftersun (A24) Week 22; also on VOD

$9,544 in 12 (-2) theaters; Cumulative: $1,659,000

TAR (Focus) Week 23; also on VOD

$38,000 in 185 (-259) theaters; Cumulative: $6,748,000

Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 51; also on PVOD

$350,683 in 584 (-52) theaters; Cumulative: $73,787,000

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