finally unseats Spider-Man: No Way Home at the North American box-office

Publish Date : 2022-01-22


finally unseats Spider-Man: No Way Home at the North American box-office

After a month at no. 1, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" has finally been overtaken at the box office. Paramount Pictures' "Scream" reboot debuted with $30.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Scream," a self-described "requel" that is both the fifth film in the franchise and a reboot introducing a new, younger cast, led all releases over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Paramount forecasts that it will total $35 million including Monday's grosses. "Scream," which cost about $24 million to make, added another $18 million in 50 international markets.

That made for a solid revival for the self-aware slasher franchise. Rights to the "Scream" films, once a reliable cash cow for Harvey and Bob Weinstein's Miramax Films, were acquired by Spyglass Media Group, which produced the new film with Paramount. This "Scream," helmed by Matt Bettinello-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, was the first not directed by Wes Craven, who died in 2015. It features original "Scream" cast members Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette alongside new additions Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega and Jack Quaid.

Most notably, "Scream" is the first box-office success in a year that Hollywood hopes will see a return to weekly stability at movie theaters. January is typically a quiet period at the box office, but the surge of the omicron variant in COVID-19 has further upended release plans of some winter movies.

Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' remake opens to low box-office numbers
Despite critical acclaim and two years worth of anticipation, Steven Spielberg's lavish "West Side Story" revival made little noise at the box office, debuting with $10.5 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday — a worrisome result for a movie industry struggling to recapture its finger-snapping rhythm.

A dazzling widescreen adaptation and Spielberg's first musical, "West Side Story" was one of the year's most eagerly awaited titles. With a script by Tony Kushner and Rita Moreno returning to her breakthrough film 60 years later, the $100-million "West Side Story" epitomizes a grand-scale prestige film that Hollywood infrequently produces anymore. It hit theaters on a wave of glowing reviews and expectations that it could play a starring role in March's Academy Awards.

But "West Side Story" faced a challenging marketplace for both adult-driven releases and musicals. Audiences have steadily returned to multiplexes in the second year of the pandemic, but older moviegoers, who made up the bulk of ticket-buyers for Spielberg's latest, have been among the slowest to return.

Musicals, too, have struggled to catch on in theaters. Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In the Heights" launched with $11 million in June but the Warner Bros. release simultaneously streamed on HBO Max. The critically panned "Dear Evan Hanson," from Universal, debuted with $7.4 million in September.

But this was Spielberg. If anyone could reignite moviegoing, the thinking went, it was him. Surely, one of the movies' dazzling craftsmen, a director synonymous with box office, could spark a fuller revival in theaters. "West Side Story," too, is among the most beloved musicals. The 1961 film, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, made $43.7 million (or about $400 million adjusted for inflation) and won 10 Oscars, including best picture.

"West Side Story" can still be expected to play well through the lucrative holiday corridor, during which younger-skewing films like "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "Sing 2" will likely be the top draws. Film executives are hoping the spreading omicron variant of COVID-19 doesn't set the box office back just as Hollywood is nearing its most profitable period.

But the muted reception for "West Side Story" will concern the industry. Hopes had long been pinned on Spielberg, with his song-and-dance spectacular, to bring back some of the movies' mojo. Instead, little right now outside of Marvel releases is finding big audiences. Many moviegoers simply haven't returned yet.

Starring newcomer Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort as Maria and Tony, "West Side Story" took in $4.4 million in 37 overseas territories. Because the film includes a transgender character, it was banned in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.

David A. Gross, who runs the movie consultancy Franchise Entertainment, called the opening "soft."

"If ‘West Side Story’ is going to be profitable, it will need to connect internationally as well domestically," Gross said in an email. "So far, the first European openings have been good, but this is going to be a challenge with moviegoing conditions as difficult as they are."

Spielberg’s film was a long time coming. Its release was delayed a year by the pandemic. It was developed at 20th Century Fox, which was acquired by the Walt Disney Co. shortly before production began. Days before its Lincoln Center premiere, the musical’s revered lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, died at the age of 91.

Second place for the weekend went to Disney's animated "Encanto," which held strongly in its third week, dropping only 27% from the previous weekend. It grossed $9.6 from Friday to Sunday, bringing its cumulative total to $71.3 million domestically and $80.5 million internationally.

The weekend's only other new wide release — STX Films' college football drama "National Champions" — went largely unnoticed, pulling in $300,000 in 1,197 theaters.

"All of our traditional measures were indicating a solid opening, but as I kept telling people: We're still in this thing and it's very difficult to determine what will actually happen," said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount. "Now we're open, people have seen the movie and we're off and running. Hopefully this becomes another building block toward building the business back and getting it back to some semblance of normalcy."

Meanwhile, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" slipped to second place but continued to rise in the record books.

"No Way Home" grossed $20.8 million in its fifth weekend of release. Sony Pictures predicts that with another $5.2 million on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, "No Way Home" will reach a domestic cumulative total of $703.9 million Monday, edging "Black Panther" and moving into fourth place all-time. That puts it behind only "Avatar" ($760 million), "Avengers: Endgame" ($858 million) and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ($936 million). Globally, "No Way Home" has grossed $1.6 billion.

Universal Pictures' "Sing 2" landed in third place in its fourth weekend with $8.3 million over the three-day weekend. The animated sequel has grossed $122.1 million domestically and $96.3 million internationally.

While the debut of "Scream" could be celebrated by Paramount, which postponed most of its top 2021 releases to 2022 (movies including "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Mission Impossible 7"), its performance also typified current box-office realities. Superhero movies and genre films that appeal to younger audiences have bounced back to near pre-pandemic levels, while films skewing older haven't.

"Scream," which received largely favorable reviews (81% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and a B+ CinemaScore from audiences, fared better than the last installment, 2011's "Scream 4." That film launched with $19.3 million. The audience for the new "Scream" was 42% under the age of 25, Sony said. But any success needs to pull from various demographics, and "Scream" also appealed to fans of the early franchise entries. Some 23% of ticket buyers were over 35.

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The only other new widely released movie over the weekend was "Belle," Mamoru Hosoda's critically acclaimed anime riff on "Beauty and the Beast." It debuted with $1.6 million in 1,326 theaters.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore.

1. "Scream," $30.6 million.

2. "Spider-Man: No Way Home," $20.8 million.

3. "Sing 2," $8.3 million.

4. "The 355," $2.3 million.

5. "The King's Man," $2.3 million.

6. "Belle," $1.6 million.

7. "American Underdog," $1.6 million.

8. "West Side Story," $948,000.

9. "Licorice Pizza," $880,000.

10. "The Matrix Resurrections," $815,000.



Category :entertainment

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