‘Scream 4′: Will audiences still answer the call?

April 14, 2011 | 9:41 a.m.

The first three “Scream” films mocked the cliches of contemporary fright flicks and manufactured a few new ones, but when the credits rolled on the  goofy third edition, everyone involved agreed it was best to send the franchise where killers never really die — the home-video shelf. This Friday, though, the team behind “Scream” takes another stab at success, but will anyone still jump? John Horn has a Calendar cover story in Thursday’s Los Angeles Times examining the brand’s box-office survival chances. Here’s a short excerpt:

It’s been 11 years since “Scream 3″ arrived in theaters, and franchises don’t normally relaunch themselves after such a long hiatus. Audience tracking surveys suggest that “Scream 4″ will be eviscerated at the box office by the animated comedy “Rio,” but there are precedents that make “Scream 4″ maker Weinstein Co. optimistic about its long-term prospects.

Paramount’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in 2008 followed the previous Harrison Ford treasure-hunt tale by 19 years with poor reviews but a global gross of more than $786 million, and last year’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” from New Line, which trailed the previous Freddy Krueger movie by seven years, grossed a respectable $63.1 million domestically. “Audiences like it a lot,” Bob Weinstein says of the new horror film, which so far is attracting fair but not great reviews. “‘Scream’ is an icon of a franchise …”

You can read the rest of Horn’s piece right here.

– Geoff Boucher

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