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‘Scream VI’ Tops Box Office With Best Franchise At $44.5 Million

Oscars weekend belonged to “Scream VI” in theaters, as the horror sequel achieved a franchise-best of $44.5 million in domestic ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group co-production far exceeded expectations, easily surpassing the previous $32 million series that launched “Scream 2” in 1997. The film’s strong debut came as Hollywood geared up for 95th nd edition of the Academy Awards., it was yet another reminder of how horror has become one of the industry’s few sure things at the box office.

After lying dormant for more than a decade, the “Scream” franchise, previously directed by Wes Craven and released by Dimension Films, has found a mature renaissance with a young cast led by “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera.

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have brought back the series’ meta slasher stories of 27 Years and the serial killer Ghostface, and it’s paying off. Last year’s “Scream V” grossed $137 million worldwide on a production budget of $24 million. In the final episode, Courtney Cox returns as reporter Gale Weathers, as does Hayden Panettiere, a “Scream IV” veteran. But it’s the first “Scream” movie without Neve Campbell.

“Scream VI”, which was quickly greenlit after the success of “V”, has also done quite well with critics and audiences alike. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 75% freshness rating. Moviegoers gave it a “B+” CinemaScore, a decent grade for a horror film. The sixth “Scream,” which cost $33 million to produce, added $22.6 million overseas.

The best movie of last week, “Creed III”, it slipped second after its release above expectations. Michael B. Jordan’s MGM spin-off “Rocky,” starring him and Jonathan Majors, earned $27.1 million in its second weekend. It has quickly surpassed $100 million in theaters in the United States and Canada.

columbia images “Sixty-five,” a sci-fi thriller starring Adam Driver as a space explorer stranded on prehistoric Earth, it opened in third place with an estimated $12.3 million from 3,405 locations and an additional $7.2 million internationally. That might as well be better than expected for a movie that received terrible reviews from critics. (It scored just 35% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.) But “65” reportedly had a sizable production budget of around $90 million, though tax rebates roughly halved that cost for financiers like Sony, Bron Studios and TSG.

bobby farrelley “Champions”, starring Woody Harrelson as a disgraced coach trying to lead a basketball team to the Special Olympics, it opened with $5.2 million in 3,030 locations. Audiences (an “A” CinemaScore) liked it more than critics (53% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Estimated ticket sales Friday through Sunday at theaters in the US and Canada, according to Comscore. The final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Scream VI,” $44.5 million.

2. “Creed III,” $27.1 million.

3. “65,” $12.3 million.

4. “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” $7 million.

5. “Cocaine Bear,” $6.2 million.

6. “Jesus Revolution,” $5.2 million.

7. “Champions,” $5.2 million.

8. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $2.7 million.

9. “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: To the Swords,” $1.9 million.

10. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” $1.7 million.