Since 2000, Scary Movie has been the biggest mainstream franchise that’s made fun of popular movies that have defined cinema. The Scary Movie series has never been a critical favorite; however, the first four installments have been very lucrative when it comes to the box office. Each of the installments made over $100 million worldwide, with two of the films making well over $200 million. However, Scary Movie 5 didn’t exactly meet the expectations that the first four set. To be clear, Scary Movie 5 is far from a financial bomb. The production budget for the 2013 feature was $20 million and it managed to make $78.47 million worldwide. However, it’s the only film in the franchise that has made less than $100 million and though it was previously confirmed that Scary Movie 6 was set to be released in February 2021, Dimension Films went under, and the hopes of the franchise likely did as well. Lantern Entertainment acquired the studio and has only revived the Hellraiser and Scream franchises. At the moment, there’s no word on the potential for a sixth film. So, what happened? The Scary Movie franchise had tremendous fan support that seemed to strengthen as each film came out. Let’s examine why Scary Movie 5 bombed at the box office.
The Franchise Had Grown Tiresome At This Point
Scary Movie is the reason we got so many of those lame and awful parodies like Meet the Spartans or Date Movie as Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer were apart of the writing team. The main issue with Scary Movie is that it throws everything at the wall to see what sticks. The films tend to be a collection of rejected Mad TV skits that mocked whatever was popular at the time. A parody of I Know What You Did Last Summer would’ve been great because it’s definitely an easy target to pick on. However, the Scary Movie franchise targets several movies at once, so the films doesn’t particularly set its focus on one story or plot. Because of this, everything feels scattershot and reckless, as the plot of these films is barely existent. The point of satire or parody movies is making a clever spin on the type of films you’re mocking. Shaun of the Dead is a play on Dawn of the Dead; however, the key thing is that the film focuses one issue. That allows the jokes to flow naturally and the story to have a cohesive narrative. Plus, Shaun of the Dead stands as its own feature. It turns the zombie genre on its head without resorting to low-brow humor and lazy jokes. What’s even more baffling about the Scary Movie franchise is that they don’t even commit to mocking only horror films. They tackle films such as Brokeback Mountain, The Matrix, 8 Mile, Inception, Black Swan, and Rise of the Planet Apes. Like I said, the franchise is the definition of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. Audiences grew tired of this. The formula for the franchise never changed and laughs diminished as each film came out. Scary Movie 5 seemed no different. Maybe the attraction of the film was Lindsay Lohan and Michael Sheen’s wild sex scene, but most of the fans weren’t willing to shell out money just for one stupid moment.
The Whole Parody Genre Was Dead at this Point
By the time Scary Movie 5 came around, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer did an excellent job at murdering the genre due to their string of horrendous parody films. In total, the filmmaking duo had made six parody films since leaving the Scary Movie franchise: Vampires Suck, The Starving Games, Meet the Spartans, Date Movie, Disaster Movie, and Epic Movie. None of these films have a rotten tomatoes score great than 10%. All of these films have the same issues as the Scary Movie, but the biggest one is that there’s no passion or love for any of these projects. These movies are nothing more than quick cash cows as they’re mainly targeted at whatever popular thing that was hot at the time. In the beginning, the experiment somewhat worked as the earlier movies made back their production budget as a Date Movie, Epic Movie, and Meet the Spartans all made over $80 million worldwide. Each of these films came with a cheap $20 million production budget price tag, so it was making nearly triple its amount back. Add in the reduced quality of each Scary Movie film as well and audiences quickly caught on that these were unfunny cash cows being pumped out by executives. Scary Movie 5 NEEDED to change its formula and strong critical reviews. Eventually, audiences will get tired of watching crap consistently. Given the fact that Scary Movie 5 made double its production budget, it wouldn’t be surprising if the studio revives the franchise, but hopefully they deviate from the tired formula and actually try to make a smart satire that mocks horror movie tropes.