After a few weeks of 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' domination, the box office is looking for its next success story - and it might just find that in 'Scream. The cult favorite slasher thriller is back for a fifth round on Friday as a theatrical-only release. The film is expected to lag behind Spider-Man' over the long MLK holiday, but it hopes to earn $25 million-plus at the U.S. box office. Some analysts predict it could go even higher, especially with strong initial reviews, even with Omicron-driven COVID 19 infections jumping.
Featuring the original cast and some new faces, Scream will rely on past nostalgia to round up audience members. The first film, which debuted over 25 years ago in 1996, earned $103 million domestically.
The subsequent releases have tapered off, with Scream 2' 1997 earning $101 million, Scream 3' 2000 pulling in $89 million and Scream 4' 2011 coming in at just $38 million.
It will be available to stream on Paramount after the movie's theatrical run, a model that many studios have adapted this year.
IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond told Yahoo Finance that he doesn't expect COVID 19 disruptions to cause a big negative for the year. He insisted that studios lack of faith in the theatrical release model is a big risk for 2022, which is a big risk.
During 2021 studios took a lot of movies and put them on day- and-date streaming, and they didn't have a good box office performance, the CEO said.
Gelfond said that people didn't sign up for streamers on the streaming side, which shows that people didn't sign up for streamers for movies. The model of selling simultaneous streaming didn't work. We don't have very much insight into streaming numbers and it's not remotely comparable, even though we do see it. The water is very muddy right there, as Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro, previously told Yahoo Finance that these movies are profiting or not profiting.
The analyst said it's hard to determine the impact that a simultaneous streaming release has on box office figures.
The hybrids Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong performed well in theaters last year, whereas The Matrix Resurrections disappointed. Robbins said this suggests that the film might have suffered from other variables outside of its availability on HBO Max T - like fan reception after poorly reviewed sequels or the Omicron variant.
The majority of the films this year have an exclusive 45 day theatrical window with big titles on the deck. These include Top Gun: Maverick, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Mission: Impossible 7. IMAX's Gelfond said it was one of the best slates he's ever seen.
He said that the big budget blockbuster movies are going to be theatrical exclusives for a long time.
Box office experts disagree, saying that more art house films and non-blockbuster genres like indies, dramas and musicals may go direct to streaming due to shifting audience demand at the box office.
Comscore's Paul Dergarabedian told Yahoo Finance that the more mature audience that gravitates to those kind of specialized movies have been more reticent to go back to the movie theater.
In the near term, he said, we're going to be living in a world where the big blockbusters, franchise films, and superhero films are the bread and butter of the industry.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is a perfect example of what films work within this pandemic-driven environment. The superhero movie, which crushed box office estimates and delivered the strongest opening weekend numbers of 2021, has amassed over half a billion in domestic sales, with analysts predicting a final domestic haul of $750 million.
The vast majority of the film's audience were under the age of 34, according to Sony.
That's going to be the driver of the business. The theaters and studios are reliant on that crowd showing up, and they've shown an eagerness to do so with movies like 'Spider-Man' Robbins added.