**Blogger’s Note (01/13): On the eve of its premiere, I am upping the 4-day tally for Scream from $29.4 million to $36.4M
The fifth installment of the Scream franchise slashes its way into theaters on January 14th, hoping to bring in a sizable horror fan base. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, makers of V/H/S and Ready or Not, direct as they take reigns of the series from scare master Wes Craven (who helmed the first four and passed away in 2015). Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Marley Shelton, and Roger L. Jackson (as the iconic voice of Ghostface) reprise roles from previous entries. Newcomers include Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Jenna Ortega, and Jack Quaid.
Nearly a quarter century ago, the low-budget original became a cultural phenomenon and revitalized the genre. Two sequels followed in quick succession in 1997 and 2000 while part 4 hit in 2011. It was a commercial disappointment – taking in only $38 million at the domestic box office (with a $19 million start).
Paramount and Dimension Films are hoping that nostalgia will bring audiences back to the fold. Fright fests, more than any other type of pic in 2021, proved immune to challenges faced in the COVID era in terms of solid openings. The third Conjuring and Candyman each premiered in the low to mid 20s range. Scream will have an extra day of earnings when factoring in the long MLK frame.
January is very desolate in terms of high profile debuts and Scream is by far the biggest one. It marks a major test for theaters as the Omicron variant sweeps across the country. If this fails to perform, don’t be surprised to see delays for upcoming releases. Even with that potential barrier and the underperformance of its predecessor, I envision this managing a mid to possibly late 20s haul when including Monday.
Scream opening weekend prediction: $36.4 million (Friday to Monday estimate)
Rawson Marshall Thurber takes a break from directing comedies and Dwayne Johnson is on a hiatus from pairing with jungle animals in Skyscraper. Drawing clear inspiration from TheToweringInferno and DieHard, the action thriller casts Johnson as Sawyer, an ex FBI agent who lost a leg in a hostage situation gone wrong. It didn’t all turn out badly though because he ends up marrying his surgeon (Neve Campbell) and they have two cute kids. Sawyer now works as a safety analyst for giant buildings and the biggest one has just been erected in Hong Kong by a billionaire entrepreneur (Chin Han). An occupational hazard develops when some terrorists led by Roland Møller set The Pearl (what the 200 plus story structure is named) on fire. Sawyer must then save his family from the burning. If you think one of his kids is asthmatic and the screenplay uses that overused cliché, you sure are right!
For a filmmaker who’s done Dodgeball: ATrueUnderdogStory, We’retheMillers, and CentralIntelligence (with Johnson), Thurber keeps this a mostly humor free experience – save for our protagonist’s affinity for duct tape. While I’ve already mentioned its most obvious influences, the climax pays homage to TheManwiththeGoldenGun, of all Bond pics. That one is on the lower end of 007 efforts and so is this as far as Johnson’s action output.
Skyscraper never bothers to develop worthwhile villains and that’s something DieHard sure had. TheToweringInferno had cutting edge effects at its time. Not here. And, um, the aforementioned Bond movie had a main bad guy with a third nipple. So that’s something.
Johnson manages to exude some charm, but it can only go so far with this ultimate nondescript affair. I could say something obvious like “Skyscraper didn’t floor me”, but that would be as lame as putting in a kid with asthma.
Dwayne Johnson has built quite a box office list of hits over the past few months with titles like TheFateoftheFurious, Jumanji: WelcometotheJungle, and Rampage. As for Baywatch… well, nobody’s perfect. Next weekend sees the release of Skyscraper, an action film which appears to be heavily influenced by TheToweringInferno and DieHard. The pic is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber who’s best known for comedies like Dodgeball: ATrueUnderdogStory, We’retheMillers, and CentralIntelligence (his 2016 blockbuster collaboration with Johnson). Costars include Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Moller, Pablo Schreiber, and Noah Taylor.
Johnson’s last two efforts (Jungle and Rampage) both opened in the mid 30s. However, that’s a little misleading with Jumanji as it opened in a massively crowded Christmas frame and legged out to a gross of over $400 million. Rampage, on the other hand, sits at $98 million total. CentralIntelligence, by the way, also premiered in the range at $35 million.
I don’t see any compelling reason why Skyscraper would debut over those titles. And I also don’t see much reason why it would open too far under them. The PG-13 rating should help bring in teens, though the second weekend of Ant–ManandtheWasp does present direct competition. I’ll project Skyscraper for a low to mid 30s start, right on pace with its lead’s other rock solid roll outs.
Skyscraper opening weekend prediction: $33.2 million
For my HotelTransylvania3: SummerVacation prediction, click here: