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This Scream Movie Made The Most Money At The Box Office (Despite Having The Lowest Opening)

One of the most long-running and financially successful horror franchises of all time, the "Scream" series has consistently scared up box office profits over the past few decades. While it began as a modest takedown of familiar tropes, Wes Craven's films quickly became commercial successes — even as early as their first installment.

Despite opening to just above $6 million, — a franchise low, financially — the original 1996 "Scream" wound up raking in over $173 million in total gross at the global box office. Piggybacking off of the success of its predecessor, 1997's "Scream 2" comes in at a close second with a total gross of $172.4 million — it opened to a far stronger $32 million.

This year's "Scream 6," which picked up where the generally well-received 2022 reboot left off with stars Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega, came close to overtaking the mother film with a global bow of over $167 million. Though that film didn't take the top spot, it did manage to break a franchise record for best opening with a weekend gross of around $44 million.

Rebooting Scream wasn't always financially foolproof

In between the original "Scream" trilogy and the 2020s reboot, 2011 saw the first earnest attempt to revamp the franchise with "Scream 4." It featured a mix of old and new faces, including Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, and newcomers Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere (the latter of whom would return a decade later in "Scream 6"). Despite more than doubling the initial film's opening weekend with a bow of $18.7 million, it failed to meet the high expectations set by previous sequels. After three films grossing well over $160 million apiece globally, "Scream 4" was unable to even crack $100 million. 

That — in tandem with lukewarm reviews — is likely why it took so much time for the studio to bring the franchise back to the big screen with 2022's "Scream" (or, as it's retroactively known, "Scream 5"). It opened to a respectable $30 million before going on to earn a $137.7 million global gross, successfully justifying its own existence and the resurrection of the franchise. With how well its sequel performed, it wouldn't be surprising to see a seventh installment announced in the near future.