Despite growing concerns about the Omicron variant’s impact on movie releases, the fifth installment in the Scream horror franchise, simply titled Scream, hit theaters earlier this month and was smashed at the box office.
“Scream” can attribute some of its box office success to an extensive marketing campaign that engaged the franchise’s fan base to the multiple platforms they spend their time on, rather than launching a broad, universal push for ticket sales.
The film grossed $38 million in its first week at the US box office, dethroning the mega-profit Spider-Man: No Way Home as the number-one US film for the first time since the Marvel film premiered in December. First-week figures for the film from Paramount Pictures/Spyglass Media Group surpassed total domestic ticket sales for its 2011 predecessor, Scream 4, and the latest Scream to date has exceeded $69 million, according to The Numbers recorded. nearly triple its production budget.
The film continues the series’ formula of a masked killer hunting and killing a group of film maniacs in a mix of crime mystery and brutal slasher horror. The first installment since the death of “Scream” creator Wes Craven in 2015 sees the return of franchise stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, while also introducing a new cast of fatalities led by rising talent Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega.
Ahead of Scream’s Jan. 14 premiere, the marketing campaign immersed fans in the world of the film — and brought them face-to-face with its famous killer Ghostface — via first-to-market offers on TikTok, Reddit, Spotify, Twitter — and even gameplay in Activision’s Call of Duty.
Michelle Hagen, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Promotions at Paramount Pictures, told Ad Age that the film’s many marketing firsts are “great examples of how these platforms coupled with a movie like ‘Scream’ can create those pop culture moments that where fans can engage and feel they have an extension of the film that they can customize and make their own, and use their own voice to share some of that content.”
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For example, the Streamed to Death partnership between Scream and Spotify offered a branded visual experience similar to the music streamer’s annual Wrapped event, where the Ghostface Killer revealed the viewer’s most-played songs and a customized playlist.