It's been five years since kids first stormed the entertainment gates. Here's how the teen genre became larger than life.

By Ethan Alter and Allyssa Lee
Updated June 08, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

DECEMBER 20, 1996 Scream, Kevin Williamson’s ironic take on slasher flicks opens. It ends up grossing $103 million and spawning two sequels.

FEBRUARY 4, 1997 Spice, the first album from Euro-sensations the Spice Girls lands, debuting at No. 6 on the Billboard chart.

MARCH 10, 1997 Buffy the Vampire Slayer sinks her teeth into the fledgling WB.

MAY 1997 Hanson’s ”MMMBop” becomes the unofficial summer ’97 anthem. (Countdown to awkward phase begins.)

JUNE 1997 The Backstreet Boys return from their European exile as ”Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” debuts at No. 24 on the Billboard chart.

OCTOBER 17, 1997 The $15.8 million opening weekend of I Know What You Did Last Summer introduces teens to three-word wonders Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar, and cements Williamson’s status as preeminent teen-movie scribe.

DECEMBER 19, 1997 Borne on the backs of Leo-crazed girls, Titanic begins its voyage into box office history, with a seaworthy $28.6 million first weekend.

JANUARY 20, 1998 Williamson brings teen angst to TV in the form of Dawson’s Creek, which quickly becomes The WB’s highest-rated program.

MARCH 24, 1998 ‘N Sync release their self-titled debut. It goes on to sell 8.5 million.

MAY 31, 1998 Geri Halliwell quits the Spice Girls.

SEPTEMBER 1998 Total Request Live, hosted by VJ Carson Daly, debuts on MTV, and Gen-Y has its American Bandstand.

JANUARY 12, 1999 After a month of that teasing video, Britney Spears’ …Baby One More Time arrives in stores and immediately shoots to No. 1.

JANUARY 1999 The one-two punch of Varsity Blues ($53 million) and She’s All That ($63 million) proves that teens will go see movies that don’t involve stabbings and decapitations.

MAY 18, 1999 BSB’s second American album, Millennium, is released, selling 1.13 million copies its first week.

JULY 9, 1999 Hollywood relives the glory days of Porky’s when the teen sex romp American Pie enjoys an $18.7 million opening weekend. Enrollment at band camps soar.

AUGUST 24, 1999 Former Mouseketeer Christina Aguilera captures lightning in a bottle; her self-titled debut lands at No. 1 in its first week.

MARCH 21, 2000 ‘N Sync to BSB: Buh-buh-bye! Astounding everyone, ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached sells 2.4 million copies its first week, obliterating BSB’s previous record.

MAY 16, 2000 Guess what? She did it again; Britney tops her own record (though not ‘N Sync’s) as her second album, Oops!…, enters the homes of 1.3 million Americans.

MAY 2000 Eminem skewers ”little girl and boy groups” on his single ”The Real Slim Shady.”

JUNE 16, 2000 Is Freddie Prinze Jr. no longer all that? Boys and Girls attracts only $7 million in its first weekend.

AUGUST 25, 2000 Cheerleaders rule! The $17.4 million opening weekend of Bring It On holds out the promise (or is that the threat?) of more cheerleader flicks.