Why is it that people like to speculate as to the fate of certain things? Every time a film opens to less than a 100 million dollar opening weekend, it’s automatically a flop in some people’s minds. I realize that a lot of this boils down to desperate people farming hits with controversy, but it gets a little old. To take it a step farther, some people even claim the death of the genre, or even a certain MPAA rating every time a film under-performs in their narrow understanding of the way a film makes it’s money back.
There’s no denying that Craven/Williamson’s return of the Scream franchise made less cash than everyone involved were hoping, but in every claim I’ve read of the death of the franchise, or even Craven’s career, the underlying factors are almost always ignored. Scream 4 made 20 million stateside during it’s opening weekend. Considering that the film cost 40 million to produce, I’m sure that the studio was a bit miffed, hoping to at least make their budget back the first week. If you look at the climate though, and really pay attention, it made about as much as anyone should really expect.
First of all, ticket sales are down by an estimated 2 billion dollars, in comparison to the last 5 straight years. Every film, even huge blockbusters are seeing hits in their expected intake. Granted, some films, like Insidious have been huge successes, but you have to factor in that it cost 1 million to produce Jame’s Wan’s return tot he big screen, in comparison to the 40 million it cost to bring Scream 4 to life, as mentioned above.
Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that it’s been 11 years since the release of the previous film in the franchise. A sequel that was met with less than stellar feedback. The generation that the franchise was originally aimed at now have kids and a mortgage. The new generation, though undoubtedly familiar with the series of films, don’t have the same sort of connection to it that we(us old fucks) do. It’s just another popcorn horror flick to them, rather than reunion with characters that they’ve invested enough time and interest into to care about their current whereabouts.
While we’re on a rant here, who decided that it would be a good idea to open an R rated film, Easter weekend, against an animated film about the Easter Bunny? Scream 4 had no chance, even if it was the greatest single cinematic experience in film history, it still would have done lackluster numbers at the box office. I seriously want to meet the man that made this decision, and hopefully exchange underground hook-ups. He clearly has access to better stuff than I do.
So, after analyzing all of these factors, is it really that big of a surprise that the film performed the way it did? And, considering the fact that it’s only been two weeks since the film was released, and it’s already made 51 million counting international ticket sales, do you think it might be a little premature to start claiming the death of the franchise, the death of R rated horror, or even the death of Wes Craven’s career?
Will the Scream franchise return? Who knows. It could go either way at this point, it’s already made it’s budget back, plus some. Add to that further ticket sales before it leaves theaters, and the DVD/Blu Ray/VOD sales, and it’s safe to say that the film was a success. Perhaps it wasn’t the box office smash that it was intended to be, but any time a film makes a profit, it’s a good thing. They already had plans in line to produce a fifth and sixth film, and with the eventual success of the fourth installment, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll kill those plans. They may not be as elaborate as they were originally intended, but it’s hard to imagine a production company, especially one with the Weinsteins steering the car, to abandon a cash-cow that could be milked for a myriad of sequels, spin-offs etc.
So, chill-out with the neigh-saying if you wouldn’t mind. I know it’s a slow time for horror news, but use it to catch up on some older flicks that you might have missed, rather than spreading around gossip and rumors like a bunch of tween girls on a sidekick.