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Scream VI scores the biggest opening weekend of the franchise

Ghostface has taken Manhattan — and the box office. 

Scream VI grossed $44.5 million at the domestic box office this weekend, the biggest debut ever for the long-running horror franchise. The previous high was Scream 3's $34 million opening weekend in 2000. This was also an improvement on the fifth installment, which opened to $30 million in January 2022. 

It's a big win for the meta slasher series that began in 1996 and returned in 2022 after more than a decade away from theaters. Scream 4, released in 2011, was originally meant to relaunch the series but was a box office disappointment, opening with just $18 million. This left the future of Scream in doubt, as did the death of original series director Wes Craven in 2015. But then 2022's Scream, which mixed the original cast with new stars like Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega, successfully revived the franchise, grossing $137 million worldwide. 

Just over a year later, Scream VI mixes up the formula by moving the action to New York City for the first time. Critics were generally positive on the film, with some calling it one of the series' best sequels, and moviegoers were satisfied, too. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave Scream VI a B+, the same grade as the previous film and as 1997's Scream 2Scream remains a rare example of a horror series that has maintained a largely positive reception throughout without ever resetting its continuity. 

But Scream VI was the franchise's first entry without Neve Campbell, who turned down a role after a salary dispute. The film did, however, bring back Courteney Cox for her sixth consecutive entry, as well as Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed, a fan favorite from Scream 4. Scream VI may also have benefited from Ortega becoming a major star between the fifth and sixth films due to Netflix's hit series Wednesday

With numbers like these, a seventh entry is likely inevitable. It's now clear that the new cast is capable of carrying the franchise going forward, though Scream VI's directors have expressed hope that Campbell will one day return, suggesting audiences may not have heard the last "hello, Sidney."