Despite growing concerns about the Omicron variant's effect on movie releases, the fifth installment in the “Scream” horror franchise, simply titled “Scream,” slashed into theaters earlier this month, earning a killing at the box office.
“Scream” can attribute some of its box office success to an extensive marketing campaign that engaged the franchise’s fanbase on the array of platforms they spend their time on, rather than on mounting a broad, all-purpose push for ticket sales.
It scared up $38 million its first week at the U.S. box office and dethroned mega-profiter "Spider-Man: No Way Home" as the number one U.S. film for the first time since the Marvel movie's premiere in December. The first week numbers for the Paramount Pictures/Spyglass Media Group film outdid the total domestic ticket sales for its predecessor, 2011’s “Scream 4,” and, according to The Numbers, the newest “Scream” has brought in over $69 million to date—nearly triple its production budget.
The film continues the series’ formula of a masked killer who hunts and kills a group of film obsessives in a mixture of whodunit mystery and brutal slasher horror. The first installment since the death of “Scream” creator Wes Craven in 2015, it features the return of franchise stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette while also introducing a new cast of deaths-waiting-to-happen, led by rising talents Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega.
Even before the “Scream” Jan. 14th premiere, the marketing campaign immersed fans in the film's world—and brought them face-to-face with its famous killer Ghostface—via first-to-market offerings on TikTok, Reddit, Spotify, Twitter–and even gameplay within Activision's “Call of Duty.”
Michelle Hagen, executive VP of worldwide promotions at Paramount Pictures, told Ad Age the movie’s many marketing firsts “are great examples of how these platforms in conjunction with a film like ‘Scream’ can create those pop culture moments where fans can engage and feel like they have an extension of the movie that they can customize and make their own and use their own voice to help share some of that content.”
The “Streamed to Death” partnership between “Scream” and Spotify, for example, featured a branded visual experience, similar to the music streamer’s annual “Wrapped” event, featuring the Ghostface killer revealing the viewer’s top-played songs and a customized playlist.