Spider-Man: No Way Home swung into theatergoers hearts, not once, not twice, but three times over. It shifted an industry’s imagination of what could be accomplished during a pandemic, and could very well alter the future of the theatrical viewing experience. But now, a full month after its release, the Marvel movie phenomena is starting to wane, just a little. For the first time since its debut, Jon Watts’ trilogy-capper appears to be ceding the top spot at the weekly box office.
The new Scream, co-directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Ready or Not), is likely to take the crown with a projected $30.6 million weekend. It’s a triumphant return for the meta-horror franchise, which has seen over a decade pass since 2011’s Scream 4. Polygon’s review said the movie pushes “self-referentiality to its limit in order to goof on its status as a potential decades-later cash-in, while still brokering a satisfying reunion with its beloved original characters.”
Scream’s numbers are a good sign for an industry still wondering how to operate in uncertain times. Outside of Scream 4’s flop, 2022’s Scream opening weekend is making money similar to what Scream 3 made in 2000 ($34.7 million) and what Scream 2 made in 1997 ($32.9 million). While Scream is undoubtedly part of a franchise, it’s not one that has had much upkeep in the intervening years, with only a three-season TV show on MTV and VH1 keeping the fires alive.
But returning stars like Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox, not to mention a generally positive response, have built up a level of excitement that seems to match how people felt when previous Scream sequels dropped. So people are splurging for theater tickers for certain franchises when the circumstances appear to be just right, like returning stars and good reviews.
But the news of the weekend will most likely be Spider-Man: No Way Home’s projected $20 million second-place finish, which isn’t too shabby. According to independent box office website The Numbers, No Way Home’s gross for the weekend starting on Jan. 14 made was the 9th-highest earning ever for a movie in its fifth week of wide release. To put No Way Home’s fifth weekend into context, The Matrix Resurrections only earned $10 million during its first.
As Tom Holland and Zendaya slowly move away from the top spot, the main question remaining for No Way Home is how the movie will rise. Projected to pass $700 million this weekend, it will rise above Black Panther to become the fourth-highest grossing domestic movie of all time, and the second-highest Marvel movie in the rankings (Endgame is number two all-time, and The Force Awakens is number one). After passing Black Panther, the next rung to climb would be past James Cameron’s Avatar.
That might be a little hard for Spidey at this point. Avatar earned $760 million, and projections show No Way Home slowing down to around $730 million at this point. But of course, the initial projections for No Way Home were off, so there’s no reason to think it’s impossible. The next serious box-office contender will likely land in March, when The Batman tries to capture a new magic.