WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for Scream 6!Scream 6’s opening weekend box office success has set records for the franchise, which is even more impressive given it’s the first Scream movie without lead character Sidney Prescott. Starring Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Courteney Cox, Dermot Mulroney, Mason Gooding, and Jasmin Savoy Brown, Scream 6’s cast includes numerous returning franchise figures, but is missing iconic scream queen Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott. Scream 6 ushers in a new era in the franchise with New York City as a new location, far more Ghostfaces than ever seen in one movie, and new rules for surviving the killers. Proving the new direction is succeeding, Scream 6 boasts positive reviews and the number one spot at the box office.
Horror has been scaring up the box office throughout 2023, with several of the year’s biggest new releases outside Creed 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania being in the horror genre. Scream 6 not only continues this optimistic trend, but also improves upon the already-impressive box office run of Scream 5 in 2022, which ended in a worldwide accumulation of $137.7 million. In its opening weekend, Scream 6 earned $44.5 million at the domestic box office, with a global total of $67 million. Scream 6’s opening weekend box office success thus came in at nearly half of Scream 5’s lifetime gross, making it the franchise’s biggest and most impressive debut yet.
Scream 6 Has The Franchise’s Biggest Box Office Opening Ever
Scream 6’s $44.5 million box office opening greatly exceeds the debuts of the past five Scream movies. The previous record-holder for the franchise’s biggest box office opening was Scream 3 in 2000, which debuted at $34.7 million. The third-highest opening is Scream 2 (1997) with $32.9 million at the domestic box office, which grossed $172.4 million worldwide by the end of its theatrical run. Scream (2022)’s opening domestic box office total was $30 million, with Scream 4 (2011) debuting at a moderate $18.7 million. The worst box office opening was the original Scream (1996) at $6.4 million, though the sleeper hit ultimately brought in a worldwide total of $173 million.
The original Scream movie still holds the franchise’s record for highest box office gross, though the early success of Paramount’s Scream 6’s means the 2023 sequel could surpass this total. Scream 6 won’t face major box office competition until John Wick 4, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which don’t necessarily appeal to the same horror audience. As such, Scream 6 could see greater longevity at the box office that brings the end of its run past $175 million worldwide, with the film’s opening weekend total already being at a third of this number. Realistically, Scream 6 is on the way to being the franchise’s highest-grossing movie.
Scream 6 Was Largely Competing With Creed 3 Holdovers At The Box Office
Scream 6’s opening weekend box office success can also be explained by its lack of major competition. The Jenna Ortega horror movie’s biggest rival during its opening was Creed 3, which set five box office records the previous weekend. While Creed 3 was initially projected to take the number one spot at the box office over Scream 6, the horror flick was ultimately able to pull through and surpass the boxing movie in the latter’s second weekend. Compared to Scream 6’s $44.5 million domestic box office haul, Creed 3’s sophomore weekend gross was $27.2 million.
Scream 6’s other competitors at the box office were the Adam Driver sci-fi movie 65, which earned $12 million, Ant-Man 3, which added another $7 million to its nearly $200 million running total, and Universal’s Cocaine Bear, which made $6.2 million in the horror-comedy movie’s third weekend (via Deadline). The box office numbers reveal that Scream 6 wasn’t going toe-to-toe with any major film during its opening, which left more room for its record-breaking box office takeover. This wasn’t exactly the case for Scream 5 in 2022, as the sequel was facing significant January holdover competition from box office smash Spider-Man: No Way Home.
January & February Set Up Huge Horror Box Office Comebacks
The box office success of Scream 6 can also be explained by the optimistic trend set by January and February theatrical horror releases. Beginning with Universal’s M3GAN in January and continuing with Cocaine Bear in February, horror has been a reliably successful genre during the typical “dump months,” with original movies setting the stage for franchise horror films to greatly succeed at the box office. M3GAN was January 2023’s highest-grossing new release, with Cocaine Bear’s opening weekend gross nearly overtaking the MCU’s Ant-Man 3 in its sophomore weekend, which is a massive feat when comparing the fan bases and commercial precedence for both films.
Horror’s achievements at the box office aren’t new to 2023, but the huge wins for the genre in January and February opened up the door for Scream 6 to have the best opening weekend of its entire franchise. Even Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey‘s box office earnings were more than 20 times its budget during its extremely limited release in February, so Scream 6’s box office domination wasn’t surprising given the genre’s noted recent success. Including Scream 6, the box office numbers for 2023’s horror releases are higher than they were by this time in 2022, indicating the genre’s greatest pandemic-era comeback yet.
Scream 6’s Jenna Ortega & The Rest Of The Cast Were Big Box Office Draws
Scream 6’s huge box office win can also be attributed to its all-star cast, most of whom have become staples in the franchise and horror genre. The movie notably stars Jenna Ortega, one of Hollywood’s biggest breakout stars of 2022 and one of the most popular actors among younger audiences, who made up the vast majority of Scream 6’s opening weekend audience demographics. While Ortega is the biggest name associated with Scream 6, the film’s cast also features Yellowjackets’ Jasmin Savoy Brown, Friends star and Scream legacy actress Courteney Cox, Scream 4’s returning actress Hayden Panettiere, Avatar 2’s Jack Champion, scream queen Samara Weaving, and My Best Friend’s Wedding’s Dermot Mulroney.
Scream 6’s Success Without Sidney Continues An Odd Franchise Box Office Trend
While Neve Campbell’s absence from Scream 6 posed a significant change to the franchise’s formula without Sidney Prescott’s presence as a major draw, the sequel still exceeded expectations at the box office. Oddly, Scream 6’s success without the series’ main character repeats an unexpected franchise box office trend. March 2023’s Creed 3 had the biggest box office opening weekend of the entire Rocky franchise despite being the first movie without Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa. Scream 6 and Creed 3’s commercial triumphs indicate that franchises are able to move on from their original stars without being penalized at the box office, which could inspire more IPs to continue stories without their main legacy characters.
Neve Campbell’s Scream 7 Return Could Make Its Box Office Even Bigger
Similar to how bringing fan-favorite Scream 4 character Kirby Reed back in Scream 6 was huge for the 2023 sequel’s draw, seeing another Sidney Prescott return in Scream 7 could make for an even greater box office performance. While Paramount has yet to officially announce Scream 7, Scream 6’s box office success and positive reviews all but confirm the sequel. As such, Sidney’s Neve Campbell returning for the next Scream follow-up with appropriate compensation would be huge for the franchise’s future, as her appearance would need to be a massive moment with a great bearing on the Core Four’s story.
Sidney’s return would likely make Scream 7 into a big event film rather than just another installment in Sam Carpenter’s story, and the box office would inevitably reflect this level of importance. Scream will also likely play off of the success of Kirby and Gale’s returns by bringing back more big characters from the franchise’s past, which could potentially be Scream 3’s Mark Kincaid, Scream’s Stu Macher, or even Scream 3’s Angelina Tyler, who is theorized to have survived Roman’s Ghostface massacre. Scream 6’s box office clearly proves that the franchise is alive and well after more than 25 years, with the potential for Neve Campbell’s return and more surprising character appearances making for an exciting seventh installment.