Scream (1996 film)

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Scream
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWes Craven
Written byKevin Williamson
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyMark Irwin
Edited byPatrick Lussier
Music byMarco Beltrami
Production
company
Woods Entertainment
Distributed byDimension Films
Release dates
  • December 18, 1996 (1996-12-18) (Los Angeles)
  • December 20, 1996 (1996-12-20) (United States)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$14–15 million
Box office$173 million

Scream is a 1996 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. It stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich and Drew Barrymore. Set in the small American town of Woodsboro, Scream's plot follows high school student Sidney Prescott (Campbell) and her friends, who, on the anniversary of her mother's murder, become the targets of a costumed serial killer known as Ghostface.

Williamson, who was struggling to get his projects off the ground, was inspired by reports of a series of murders by the Gainesville Ripper as he wrote a screenplay that satirized the clichés of the slasher genre popularized in films such as Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Developed under the title Scary Movie, Williamson's script became the subject of an intense bidding war from multiple studios before Miramax Films purchased the rights. Craven, despite turning down the opportunity multiple times, agreed to direct the film after he had read the script as he was determined to re-establish himself after several career setbacks. The involvement of Barrymore and Cox helped secure more support from the studio. Principal photography took place from April to June 1996 in California on a budget of $15 million. Craven trimmed down the violence in the film after being involved in a tense conflict with the Motion Picture Association of America over the desired R-rating.

Released on December 20, 1996, Scream was not expected to perform well due to concerns over releasing a slasher film in a time normally reserved for holiday entertainment, but it went on to gross approximately $173 million worldwide through the strength of word of mouth, becoming a surprise success and one of the highest-grossing films of the year. Reviews praised the performances of its cast and its unique meta humor but criticized its excessive violence and lack of suspense in favor of that humor. The film helped elevate Williamson's career as a writer and raised the profiles of the rest of the cast.

Scream is now regarded as one of the greatest horror and slasher films ever made. It has been credited with rekindling interest in the horror genre during the 1990s following a decline in the genre's popularity. It has remained influential, as Barrymore's involvement helped make participating in horror films more acceptable to prominent actors and increased horror films' appeal with younger audiences. The success of the film launched a multimedia franchise, which comprises the sequels Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Scream 4 (2011), Scream (2022), and Scream VI (2023), as well as an anthology television series.

Plot[edit]

In the small town of Woodsboro, California, high school student Casey Becker is home alone when she receives a phone call from an unknown person. They discuss horror films until the caller turns sadistic, threatening her life and revealing that her boyfriend, Steve, is tied up on her patio. The caller demands she answer questions about horror films to save his life, but she gives an incorrect answer about Friday the 13th and Steve is killed. Casey attempts to escape the house, but is killed by someone wearing a "Ghostface" costume and her disemboweled corpse is hanged from a tree.

The news media descend on the town as a police investigation begins. Teenager Sidney Prescott struggles with the impending first anniversary of the rape and murder of her mother Maureen by Cotton Weary. The trauma has made her unable to consummate her relationship with her boyfriend, Billy Loomis. As her father Neil is traveling for work, Sidney waits home alone for her best friend, Tatum Riley. She receives a call taunting her about Maureen's death and is attacked by Ghostface, who disappears just before Billy comes through her window. However, she becomes suspicious when he drops a cell phone, and he is arrested by Deputy Sheriff Dewey Riley, Tatum's brother. At the police station, Sidney is confronted by investigative journalist Gale Weathers, who claims that Maureen had several affairs, including one with Cotton, and that he was wrongly accused of her murder. Sidney stays at Tatum's home but receives another taunting call from the killer. The calls are traced to Neil's phone, but the police are unable to locate him.

After his release, Billy encounters Sidney at school and further upsets her by comparing his absent mother to Maureen's death. After suspending school in the wake of the murders, Principal Himbry is stabbed to death in his office. To celebrate the closure, Stu Macher, Tatum's boyfriend, hosts a party at his secluded home. Dewey and Gale keep watch on the party in case the killer strikes again. As fellow high schooler Randy Meeks details the rules of surviving a horror film, Tatum is isolated in the garage by Ghostface, who crushes her with the garage door. After discovering Himbry's murder, most of the partygoers leave to see his hanging body, nearly running over Dewey and Gale and inadvertently leading them to Neil's hidden car. Billy arrives at the house to reconcile with Sidney, and they finally have sex. Afterward, they are suddenly attacked by Ghostface, and Billy is stabbed. Sidney evades Ghostface, who kills Gale's cameraman Kenny and stabs Dewey when he returns. Gale, attempting to flee in her van, crashes and is knocked unconscious. Sidney seeks refuge inside the house, locking Stu and Randy outside as they accuse each other of being the killer.

A seemingly wounded Billy returns and allows Randy inside before shooting him in the shoulder, revealing himself as the killer and Stu as his accomplice. Billy confesses that they killed Maureen because he discovered her affair with his father was responsible for his mother leaving. The pair abducted Neil to frame him for their crimes and proceed to stab each other to portray themselves as the only survivors. They are interrupted by Gale's return, which gives Sidney the chance to incapacitate Billy and kill Stu by dropping a television set on his head. Billy attempts to stab Sidney but is shot by Gale. After Randy remarks that horror film killers revive for a final scare, Billy sits back up and Sidney shoots him in the head, killing him. As dawn breaks, Neil is rescued, Dewey is taken away by ambulance, and Gale provides an impromptu news report about the night's events.

Cast[edit]

A photograph of Neve Campbell
A photograph of David Arquette
A photograph of Courteney Cox
Neve Campbell (pictured in 2006), David Arquette, and Courteney Cox (both 2009)

Scream also features Roger L. Jackson as the voice of Ghostface,[17] and Kevin Patrick Walls as Steve Orth, Casey's boyfriend.[16][12] Lawrence Hecht and Lynn McRee portray Sidney's parents, Neil and Maureen.[14][18][19] C.W. Morgan appears as Hank Loomis, Frances Lee McCain portrays Mrs. Riley, and David Booth and Carla Hatley appear as Casey's father and mother.[14] Leonara Scelfo portrays a "bitchy" cheerleader in the school bathroom.[20] Scream features several cameo appearances, including Henry Winkler as principal Arthur Himbry, Linda Blair as Obnoxious Reporter, casting director Lisa Beach as a reporter, and director Wes Craven appears as Freddy the janitor, an homage to iconic horror character Freddy Krueger.[a]

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

A photo of Kevin Williamson in 2012
Screenwriter Kevin Williamson (pictured in 2012)

In 1994, Kevin Williamson was a novice and financially struggling screenwriter, having recently sold his first script, Killing Mrs. Tingle (1999).[b] While house-sitting, Williamson watched a Turning Point documentary about serial killer Danny Rolling which he said left him unsettled. Williamson later noticed an open window, armed himself with a knife, and called his friend for support. The pair began discussing horror characters that had resonated with them such as Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.[26][28] The following morning, Williamson was woken by a nightmare and used the experience as inspiration for the opening home invasion of Scream. He was also influenced by a one-act play he wrote in college about an unknown caller taunting a young girl.[24][26][28]

Williamson spent the next three days writing a script for a slasher film he called Scary Movie while listening to the score to Halloween (1978) for further inspiration.[c] He also drafted two five-page outlines for possible sequels.[d] He developed much of the script around a single line of dialogue, "movies don't create psychos, movies make psychos more creative". This was his response to contemporary concerns about the influence of cinematic violence on audience, and he "thought it was a great line."[25] Williamson's script drew upon many of his favorite horror films, such as Halloween, Friday the 13th (1980), Prom Night (1980), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).[29] At the time, the successful slasher films of the 1970s and 1980s had fallen out of favor, in part because of increasingly poorly received sequels to long-running horror franchises.[31][26][27]

His characters were intentionally designed to be knowledgeable about these horror films and their typical elements, with the intention of creating a unique killer who was not only aware of horror film clichés but also exploited them for his own advantage. Williamson expressed his approach, "I thought if you could expose the rules and play with them, then the audience doesn't know what they're going to get. Suddenly they're on edge. I started playing with the tropes, and the 'rules' were part of that."[27][26] The opening scene depicting Casey Becker's death emulates that of Janet Leigh's character in Psycho (1960) by killing off a possible main character early on. Williamson believed it would hook studio executives and leave audiences unsure how the plot would progress.[26] Williamson set the script in his hometown of Bayboro, North Carolina, believing its quiet atmosphere would provide a strong contrast with a serial killer's actions.[32]

Williamson pursued Scary Movie because it was the type of horror film he enjoyed as a child but believed were no longer being made.[33][26][34] Even so, he did not believe studios would develop and intended to use it to garner attention and secure other work.[25] Williamson's agent had him scale back the gore, removing descriptions such as "the insides are slowly rolling down her leg," because it would make it difficult to sell the script. Williamson refused to cut any dialogue, however, believing it set it apart from similar films.[29][28]

Development[edit]

A photograph of Wes Craven
Director Wes Craven (pictured in 2010)

By 1995, several studios were competing to secure the rights to Scary Movie, including Morgan Creek Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, and filmmaker Oliver Stone.[e] The script came to the attention of producer Cathy Konrad of Woods Entertainment, which had a development deal with production studio Miramax. She brought it to Richard Potter, the director of development for Miramax's genre-film-focused subsidiary Dimension Films.[35] Potter expected a "stupid spoof" but was drawn in by the opening scene and recommended Miramax chairman, Bob Weinstein, pursue the rights. He agreed, considering it an opportunity to produce films instead of distributing those of others.[f] Although others offered larger figures, Williamson's lawyer advised him take Weinstein's offer ($400,000–$500,000) because Dimension was willing to make the film immediately.[g]

Williamson revised the script based on studio input, removing some gorier content (such as exposed internal organs and severed limbs) and adding the murder of principal Himbry because Weinstein said there was too long a period following the opening without any deaths. This solved a separate difficulty Williamson was having explaining why all but the core group of characters leave Stu's party in the finale, as they go to see Himbry's corpse.[38][28][39] The Scary Movie title was also changed to Scream late in production because Weinstein was concerned Scary Movie would lead audiences to believe it was a comedy instead of a horror.[h]

The search for a director took over two months, with Danny Boyle, Tom McLoughlin, Sam Raimi, Robert Rodriguez, George A. Romero, Quentin Tarantino, and Anthony Waller being considered. No agreements were secured because they interpreted the script as a comedy instead of a horror satire.[i] Wes Craven was discounted by the studio due to his lack of experience directing satires.[j] Craven liked the script but he wanted to work on less gory and more mainstream content (including a film adaptation of the novel, The Haunting of Hill House (1959)) because of the negative public perception of him based on his previous films.[k] Craven's assistant Julie Plec and producer Marianne Maddalena continued to push Scream to Craven. His interest was renewed after The Haunting of Hill House adaptation was cancelled and he experienced the personal disappointment of his failed horror comedy, Vampire in Brooklyn (1995).[l] After reading the script, Plec said Craven suggested the studio "'make him an offer he can't refuse.' And so Dimension did. And he took it."[26][25] The deal also offered Craven his choice of other projects to direct after Scream.[37]

Williamson met Craven to discuss the script, believing he would request substantial rewrites, but Craven's notes related mainly to typos and some minor additions including restoring some of the gorier content and refining the ending which was not yet fully realized.[m] Williamson said "The story stayed pretty much intact, but we added some scares, and shortened it. Wes reworked some of the action sequences, and we would argue and go back and forth, but there's a point where I had to realize that Wes is more experienced than I am."[53] Describing the script Craven said, "what it forces you to do is sort of look at the reality of things we typically look at as amusing, like the Friday the 13th type of deaths where people have arrows through their heads and kids scream and laugh. But that suddenly starts happening in their actual lives."[54]

Casting[edit]

A photograph of Rose McGowan
A photograph of Jamie Kennedy
Rose McGowan (pictured in 2007) and Jamie Kennedy (2010)

Atypical for the genre at the time, Scream featured a cast of established stars, such as Drew Barrymore and Courteney Cox, as well as relatively unknown actors.[25][26] Executive producer Cary Woods used his friendship with Barrymore's agent to approach her for the lead role of Sidney Prescott, but she requested the smaller role of Casey Becker because "that's the part I love the most."[n] Maddalena suggested that Barrymore had wanted to leave the project entirely, but took the smaller role to avoid disappointing Bob Weinstein and his brother Harvey.[55] The filmmakers agreed to the change, believing it would be impactful to kill off their most well-known actor during Scream's opening and convince audiences that no character was safe.[25][57][26] Vinessa Shaw and Reese Witherspoon were also considered for Sidney Prescott. Witherspoon was discounted because she looked too young compared to the other cast, and Williamson's choice, Molly Ringwald, believed she was too old for the part.[28][55] The final choices came down to Alicia Witt, Brittany Murphy, and Campbell.[26][31][25] According to Williamson, Campbell swiftly emerged as the favored choice among the principal crew and, to improve her chances, they filmed her screen-test first, forcing the other contenders to try and surpass her performance.[25] Beach and Maddalena said Campbell brought athleticism from her dancing background with a combination of strength and vulnerability.[26] Describing what attracted her to the role, Campbell said Sidney was "a fantastic character for any kind of movie" who transitions from "tormented, traumatized, insecure young woman to overwhelmingly empowered and strong."[58]

Woods suggested Courteney Cox for the cold and calculating Gale Weathers, believing it would be interesting to play against her typical personable characters in series such as Family Ties (1982–1989) and Friends (1994–2004). Craven did not believe Cox could play the part and so she wrote a letter assuring him that "being 'a bitch' wouldn't be a stretch at all."[26][25] Brooke Shields and Janeane Garofalo were considered but a more established actress was preferred.[23] David Arquette auditioned for unspecified younger characters, but he was attracted to the role of Dewey and acting against Cox. The character was written as a "dumb jock" but Arquette interpreted it as a "position of authority getting no respect ... He wants to be John Wayne ... He wants to be this tough guy, but he's just got a heart of gold."[26][25] Rose McGowan's agent jeopardized her chance to play Tatum by insisting on a payment of $250,000 instead of the offered $50,000, which was lower than the $100,000 received by some other principal actors. As a result, McGowan had to reaudition for the role twice.[59][9] McGowan influenced Tatum's design, dying her hair blonde to avoid having two dark-haired main female characters,[9] removing an Indigo Girls poster from Tatum's bedroom (because she would not listen to the relatively older band), and rejecting costuming suggestions in favor of her self-bought outfits.[60] Thora Birch and Natasha Lyonne also auditioned for the role; Lyonne was the preferred choice but, as she was under 18, could not consent to joining without parental permission.[59]

Believing he was rising in popularity, Vince Vaughn was the studio's preferred choice for Billy Loomis, but he was too ill to audition.[20] Ulrich did not attend auditions because of scheduling conflicts but his girlfriend did and mentioned Ulrich brought her; Beach went out to meet him personally.[20] Ulrich liked playing a serial killer after more innocent and naive previous roles.[25][61] To develop his character, Ulrich researched serial murders, psychological profiles, and outfitted one of his hotel rooms to the Billy persona to help him get into character, outfitting it with punk rock posters and blacklights. He said, "I was into punk music in my teens and really just trying to recapture that angst ... I would sit in there and read about serial killers and watch Faces of Death (1978) ... anything to get into that gory mindset."[61][62] Ulrich and Campbell starred together in The Craft (1996), which they believed fostered a natural relationship between their characters.[63] Lillard auditioned for Billy, but the casting directors did not consider him the right actor to "make out with [Campbell]" and had him audition as Stu for Craven, who immediately offered him the part.[o]

Seth Green, Jason Lee, and Breckin Meyer were all preferred for Randy, the "lanky, gangly, opinionated fifth wheel, who really has a love and passion for movies," but Craven and Williamson appreciated the innocence and comedy Kennedy brought to his portrayal. Kennedy credited Craven for supporting his casting.[25][27][66] W. Earl Brown and Craven were friends and he was not required to audition but did have to gain about 20 lb (9.1 kg); he originally wanted to portray Dewey.[25][19] Roger L. Jackson was hired based on his voice work for Mars Attacks! (1996).[17][26] He recounted overhearing his competitors discussing the Ghostface as the "new Freddy Krueger," but Jackson interpreted it as a more subtle role which required charisma and sexiness to keep his target on the phone even though they want to hang up.[26][25] Barrymore wanted someone to act against in her scene instead of the character's lines being read to her, and while the filmmakers intended to dub over Jackson's voice with Tom Kane, Craven liked his performance.[p] Henry Winkler shared an agent with Craven and made his cameo appearance as a favor.[69] Lynn McCree, Sidney's mother, was a Sonoma local; she spent two hours taking pictures with Campbell for the role but had no knowledge of the character's backstory.[19] Liev Schreiber took the part of Cotton Weary for $20,000 during an unrelated meeting with Bob Weinstein.[25][70] Extras were drawn from locals including the owners of a restaurant frequented by the cast and crew.[71]

Pre-production[edit]

An isolated home in Tomales, California served as the location of Scream's finale.

It was determined early on that Scream required too many different interior and exterior locations to be filmed on sets. Production designer Bruce Miller explained that it was important to portray the characters as vulnerable in their homes which made it essential that they could film inside and outside the properties.[72] Scouts researched locations in the United States and Canada but struggled to locate a house for the opening scene which featured plentiful windows and visibility.[73] Craven initially researched Wilmington, North Carolina but it failed to meet his expectations: "I wanted to have very American looking houses ... and a lot of the houses there were very dark brown, or brick, and that didn't look attractive to me."[73][32] Locations near Vancouver were discounted for similar reasons, as was Napa County, California.[73][32]

Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, California offered most features the filmmakers required, but Harvey Weinstein rejected the additional $1–$2 million required to film there until the filmmakers convinced him that Craven's name would attract enough audiences to compensate for the added cost.[q] The opening scene used a house in Glen Ellen.[r] Production designer Bruce Miller said, "We didn't want homes that looked like castles, or that you could really protect yourself in ... so if somebody was going to be stalking them, they could get to them very quickly."[77] Other Santa Rosa locations used in Scream include Sidney's House at 1820 Calistoga Road, interiors of Tatum's house at 824 McDonald Avenue, and the Bradley Video store, where Randy works.[78][75][79] The Healdsburg, California town square appears as the location of the Woodsboro Town Square, the fountain, and the exterior of the town police station.[75][78][76]

Stu's home was an unoccupied property in Tomales which offered a dark and isolated atmosphere for the finale.[s] Cinematographer Mark Irwin unsuccessfully argued against using the property because it was on top of a hill, introducing logistical challenges for accessing trailers and equipment.[83] Production designer Bruce Alan Miller built a facade of barns in front of the house so trailers could be sited closer while remaining concealed.[84] The art department extensively modified the house, adding Gothic elements such as beams and stained-glass windows to give it a haunted feel, painting the walls red (although they realized later this made the blood stand out less), and adding a white picket fence.[83][81] The farmhouse-style home offered a "convoluted" layout for a convincing setting where the murders could occur without the other characters realizing. The production crew also added a volleyball net to make it appear as if a teenager lived there.[81]

Ten days of filming were to take place at Santa Rosa High School in early June at a cost of up to $50,000, but permission was revoked just before filming began in March by the Santa Rosa district. The change was ostensibly because of the disruption filming would cause during school hours, but locals also protested against the use of the school in a violent film and Craven's horror film legacy.[t] The Sonoma Community Center served as a replacement but scenes had to be rewritten to accommodate the new location, and additional costs to transform the former elementary school into one appropriate for young adults, including larger desks and installing lockers. Craven estimated the disruption and location changes caused by the Santa Rosa district's decision cost the production $350,000, including the $270,000 the center was paid for three days of filming.[u] The disruption to filming by the school was not forgotten, with the film's credits stating "No thanks whatsoever to the Santa Rosa city school district governing board."[87]

Williamson only described Ghostface as "ghost mask killer."[89][90] Maddalena discovered a mask while location scouting and was immediately taken in by it.[26] The design, featuring a white shroud, was designed by Brigitte Sleiertin as "The Peanut-Eyed Ghost" for the novelty company Fun World in 1991.[91][89] Craven asked Dimension to license the design but Fun World's price was steep and the studio also wanted full ownership of the mask.[v] Special effects company KNB EFX Group was commissioned to create similar but legally distinct alternatives.[w] Dozens of designs were developed resulting in "gargoyle-ish", witch, and goblin-like masks. The filmmakers did not like the replacements and made a version close to the Fun World design but with minor changes such as stretching the nose and chin to avoid copyright issues.[x] The killer was given a black shroud to avoid their clothing or movements hinting at their identity.[93]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on April 15, 1996, on a $14 million budget.[94][26][95][y] The first week was spent filming the Casey Becker scenes.[z] To elicit the necessary emotions, Barrymore recalled a sad story developed with Craven and made herself hyperventilate.[26][56][9] To enhance her performance, Jackson was situated outside the house so that he could see Barrymore while making the calls but she could not see him. Jackson was used similarly for other Ghostface call scenes, and never met the cast in person. He said "the scariest monsters are the monsters you don't see, but the monsters you make in your mind. So just having the voice to react to made it larger in their minds".[aa] For safety, stunt people portrayed the killer in costume, although Craven portrays the killer in parts of the opening.[28][96] The first few days of filming used a custom mask designed for Scream, but Craven did not like it and reshot various scenes with the Fun World design before it was licensed.[93] Because the hung Casey was to appear gutted from chest to waist, effects artist Howard Berger decided against applying prosthetics to Barrymore in favor of a mannequin that could be hollowed out, showing her spine holding her upper and lower parts together. The effect was enhanced with various rubber and vinyl guts.[97] For Steve Orth's death, KNB created an open back chair allowing the actor to kneel behind a hollowed out anatomical mannequin torso cut open at the abdomen and filled with latex, rubber, and gelatin intestines.[98]

After viewing the dailies raw footage, the Weinsteins criticized the quality of Craven's work as "workmanlike at best", believing it lacked tension and had an inconsistent tone.[99] The Weinsteins were critical of the Fun World Mask, believing it was "flat" and not scary, suggesting various alternatives, and said Barrymore lacked sex appeal because of the pageboy hairstyle she had chosen.[ab] Williamson recounted Craven receiving a call from the brothers and seeing "his back slump. He just started sliding down the chair."[47][25] The studio considered abandoning filming or firing Craven, and sent him footage from other films, such as Nightwatch (1997), to demonstrate what they wanted for Scream.[ac]

Konrad defended Craven to the brothers, and in response Bob Weinstein sent Dimension executives Cary Granat and Andrew Rona to the set to directly intervene.[99][101] Craven, Konrad, Maddalena, and line producer Stuart M. Besser met with Granat, who wanted the opening reshot with each of the Weinstein's alternative mask suggestions.[25][100] Instead, they offered to edit together the existing footage to prove the scene and mask worked and if it did not, then the project would be cancelled.[ad] Editor Patrick Lussier worked with Craven to piece together most of the opening, adding temporary music and sound effects.[101][102][103] The Weinstein's barred Craven and the producers from attending screening of the footage. Afterward, Bob Weinstein told the filmmakers, "What do I know about dailies? Keep going", and provided additional financing as well as licensing Fun World's design.[ae] The producers suggested Weinstein had an "ulterior motive" to force the filmmakers to complete the footage – the upcoming Milan Film Festival, as edited footage was not typically allowed to be screened until eight weeks after filming concluded.[67]

The next main scene filmed was of the central cast sitting around a fountain. Ulrich admitted he did not realize Scream was intended to be a horror with comedic elements and was confused by Lillard's and Kennedy's "humorous moments", believing they were "ruining the movie ... Like, 'This isn't funny. This isn't supposed to be funny.' And man, was I wrong."[62][95] Craven encouraged improvisation throughout filming, much of it coming from Arquette and Lillard, with Williamson acknowledging that Lillard's ad-libs improved the script.[af]

The finale[edit]

A photograph of Matthew Lillard
A photograph of Skeet Ulrich
Matthew Lillard (pictured in 2012) and Skeet Ulrich (2010)

The film's 42-minute end sequence set at Stu's party were filmed at night over three weeks.[ag] Issues filming at the location, including difficulties with providing proper lighting because of the uneven landscape, exacerbated tensions between Craven and Irwin regarding the quality of Irwin's footage. Scream was filmed with an anamorphic lens, which distorts and stretches the image to achieve a specific aspect ratio. However, neither Craven nor Irwin had much experience with this type of lens. The crew, including Lussier, had raised concerns about lens flares and out-of-focus images, partially blaming the focus puller hired by Irwin.[84] Lussier explained, "You can often tell your focus is supposed to be on somebody's eye usually,  ... and the focus puller just hasn't moved with the actor".[105] As a result, there were limited options during the editing process due to the inconsistent focus.[106] Irwin said he was informed that all filmed footage was unusable and that 35 days of scenes needed to be reshot. After an argument with Maddalena, Irwin was immediately fired and replaced by Peter Deming for the final three weeks of filming.[105][106][93] Irwin believed he was made a scapegoat for the film's behind-schedule status, risking Craven forfeiting his salary, but Konrad refuted this.[106]

Kennedy's horror rules scene was initially performed in a single take, but he requested additional takes, feeling he could enhance the performance (Craven ultimately chose the third take).[27] During Tatum's death scene, McGowan had trouble staying in the pet door as the garage door rose. To address this, the crew nailed her shirt to the frame to hold her in place.[28][9] Craven found it challenging managing the scene's tone, aiming to avoid trivializing Tatum's death while paying homage to other horror films.[104] McGowan improvised the screams for her mother to give the character more humanity.[107] When Gale drives a van with Kenny's corpse on top, Brown was on top of the van, but the unprepared stunt driver accelerated at full speed. When he hit the brakes, Brown fell off the side of the van and the stunt coordinator grabbed Brown's pants and ankle, saving him from harm.[108]

Five nights were spent on the kitchen confrontation between Billy, Stu, and Sidney.[61][3] By the time they had filmed Gale returning with a gun, Ulrich said he and Lillard were "roaming around like caged animals" to keep the intensity of their performances high, to the point Craven asked them to relax because they were scaring Cox. Lillard described maintaining that level of adrenaline as exhausting.[61][65][3] Campbell, Kennedy, Lillard, and Ulrich endured multiple nights covered in fake blood, and the costumes could not be washed to maintain continuity (they were dampened each night to make the blood appear fresh).[26][65][80] When Ulrich stabs a sofa, the filmmakers were unaware it was stuffed with feathers which stuck to the fake blood; Maddalena considered Craven "nuts" for keeping the feathers in the scene.[26] Lillard improvised lines such as "My mom's gonna be so mad at me" and "You fucking hit me with the phone, you dick", the latter taking place when Ulrich threw a phone near him as intended but the sticky blood caused it to veer off and inadvertently hit Lillard.[26][25][96] Ulrich suggested Billy cracking his neck before shooting Gale, and the sound was added in post-production.[61] Campbell's stuntwoman accidentally stabbed Ulrich with an umbrella tip, missing the protective vest he was wearing and hitting the site of an open heart surgery Ulrich had as a child.[108]

Filming concluded on June 14, 1996.[94] The cast spoke fondly of the "summer camp" atmosphere during filming and the camaraderie they formed. The main cast and select crew members, including Craven, often gathered together in the early mornings after filming for meals, activities, and socializing. Arquette's hotel room was transformed into a makeshift club where they would congregate. However, due to complaints from other residents, they eventually relocated their early morning gatherings to a nearby barn.[ah]

Post-production[edit]

The Scary Movie title remained late into production, appearing on the cast and crew gifts for completing filming.[ai] Harvey Weinstein suggested Scream based on the Michael and Janet Jackson song of the same name.[36][111] Many of the cast and crew were initially unhappy with the change. Sony Pictures filed a lawsuit against Dimension and Miramax, claiming Scream infringed on their copyright of Screamers (1995). The case was settled out of court with Dimension being able to use Scream going forward.[111] Although Arquette's and Kennedy's characters were killed in the script, alternate scenes were filmed showing them survive in case they proved popular with test screening audiences. The successful screenings also resulted in Miramax asking Craven to direct two Scream sequels.[aj]

Scream was rated NC-17 by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), restricting its audience to those over 17 years of age, which was considered "box-office suicide" by industry experts.[114] The MPAA told Craven that Scream would never receive a more commercial R-rating, allowing younger people to see the film when accompanied by an adult.[114][115][26] Craven said, "I'm a director who can do something very well but am not allowed to put it on screen. And they ultimately get you, as they did on this one, on intensity. They say, 'it's not a specific shot, it's not blood, it's just too intense'".[115][116] The filmmakers eventually convinced the MPAA that Scream was a spoof, believing they were too focused on the horror aspects.[25] It took up to nine cuts to address the MPAA's complaints, including removing any movement of Steve Orth's internal organs, trimming Kenny's throat being slit (because the actor's pained expression was too "disturbing"), moving Billy and Stu stabbing each other off screen, and reducing scenes of Casey's hanging body and Tatum's crushed head.[ak] The slow motion stabbing of Casey was considered "too brutal" but was allowed with only a few frames removed because there was no alternate footage to use.[116][25] The final cut runs for 111 minutes.[118]

The marketing for Scream positioned Barrymore as the lead character to intentionally shock the audience with her death.[26][57] During a promotional interview, Ulrich inadvertently revealed he portrayed one of the killers and called his agent to get the story blocked.[119]

Music[edit]

Despite having no background in film scoring or an interest in the horror genre, Marco Beltrami was recommended to Plec and Craven, who found his music samples original compared with Beltrami's contemporaries.[al] Craven grave Beltrami a weekend to compose "The Cue from Hell", the score for the film's opening sequence, which secured his hiring. Beltrami wrote the piece from Casey's perspective and used an "operatic" style, employing a range of instruments, including piano and brass.[123][120][25] Beltrami described himself as "bumbling" through the scoring process, acknowledging his limited knowledge of horror music styles.[121][124][123] He incorporated elements of the western genre, particularly for Dewey's theme, and took cues from composers including Elliot Goldenthal, Ennio Morricone, Eric Serra, Christopher Young, and Hans Zimmer.[121][124][123]

Due to budget constraints, Beltrami had to work with a small orchestra of fewer than 50 performers. To compensate for the lack of string harmonics, he instructed the string players to whistle, and asked Craven, Lussier, Maddalena, and Woods to join and boost their numbers.[am] Beltrami identified most with Sidney's character and considered her theme – "Sidney's Lament" – to be one of the score's crucial pieces.[25][125] He chose not to assign a distinctive motif to Ghostface, to avoid hinting at the killer's identity.[124] Licensed music for Scream was provided by TVT Records and includes covers of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Gus Black and "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" by Soho, "School's Out" by Alice Cooper, "First Cool Hive" by Moby, and "Drop Dead Gorgeous" by Republica.[128][129][130] Excepts from the Halloween score are also present.[29]

Release[edit]

Context[edit]

The theatrical year of 1996 was projected to record a $5.8 billion domestic box office record after twelve films grossed over $100 million, with Independence Day and Twister each earning over $200 million. However, individual successes were hindered by the high number of releases competing for audiences, resulting in several box office flops and studio bankruptcies. This was compounded by rising production costs and high salaries for stars such as Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Julia Roberts, prompting many studios to cut their film slate by fifty percent. Even so, over forty films were scheduled for release in late 1996, including Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Jerry Maguire, Mars Attacks!, Ransom, Space Jam, and Star Trek: First Contact.[an]

Bob Weinstein opted to release Scream in December as counterprogramming, offering teenagers an alternative to more traditional holiday fare. The decision was unpopular with the cast and crew, with Williamson expecting the film to fail.[25][26] Weinstein explained, "people said we were crazy to put out Scream over Christmas ... It was a thriller; it didn't have big stars; it couldn't compete. Well, after Beavis and Butt-Head, where is that audience going to go?"[136]

Box office[edit]

The premiere of Scream took place on December 18, 1996, at the AVCO theater in Westwood, Los Angeles.[27][137] It was released in the United States and Canada on December 20.[95][27][25] During its opening weekend, the film grossed $6.4 million across 1,413 theaters—an average of $4,497 per theater—making it the fourth-highest-grossing film of the weekend, behind 101 Dalmatians ($7 million), Jerry Maguire ($13.1 million), and the debut of Beavis and Butt-Head Do America ($20.1 million).[138][25] The performance was considered a failure by industry professionals, resulting in Variety labeling Scream "dead on arrival".[95][25][26] Maddalena recounted herself and Craven observing a raucous audience for Beavis and Butt-Head Do America while Scream had "maybe seven people in there. No one was laughing or screaming. We went away so dejected."[26] However, Scream received positive audience word-of-mouth and exit-polling responses, leading the studio to increase the marketing and distribution budget. This contributed to Scream's performance improving in the following weeks.[27][25][26] Although it fell to fifth place in its second weekend, it increased its weekend gross to $9.1 million,[139][25][26] and again in its third weekend, rising to third place with $10 million.[140][25] Scream remained in the top-ten-highest-grossing films for nine weeks in total, becoming a surprise success and grossing a total of $103 million.[141][142][143] This figure made it the number 13 highest-grossing film of 1996,[144] and highest-grossing slasher film of its time, until Halloween (2018).[143][145][146] It was Miramax's second film to gross $100 million in the United States and Canada after Pulp Fiction (1994).[147] The film was most successful with teenagers and young people in their 20s.[148]

Outside of the U.S. and Canada, Scream is estimated to have grossed a further $70 million, including $14 million in the United Kingdom, making it the number 21 highest-grossing film.[149][150] This gives Scream a cumulative worldwide total of $173 million, making it the number 15 highest-grossing film of the year.[ao][ap] After four weeks of release, it became the highest-grossing horror film in France, with a gross of $6.2 million (37.9 million French Francs).[150] In Japan, the release date was postponed from May 1997 to August after the murder of a 14-year-old boy, whose killer was apparently obsessed with horror movies.[150]

Industry analysis showed that most of the films released toward the end of the year were box office failures, including both big-budget fare and a surge of films targeted toward women. Only a few were seen as successes, including 101 Dalmatians, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Jerry Maguire, Ransom, Scream, and Star Trek: First Contact.[136] The success of Scream resulted in additional financial compensation for the principal crew and cast, triggered by the box office surpassing $40 million and subsequent increments of $10 million up to $100 million. Kennedy noted that his first residual check was double his salary.[25][26][153]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Drew Barrymore (pictured in 2014)
Drew Barrymore (pictured in 2014) was considered for Sidney Prescott before she was cast as Casey Becker. Critics praised her performance.

Scream received generally positive reviews.[154] Critics, such as Roger Ebert, James Berardinelli, and Owen Gleiberman, praised Scream's meta commentary about its horror predecessors and its self-referential humor while also writing that the self parody diluted any suspense, and criticizing the excessive violence.[aq] Some critics said that the film's intelligence and wit beneath the gore would be appreciated by "sophisticated viewers",[21][168] but Ebert was unsure if the degree of violence was "defused by the ironic way the film uses it and comments on it".[158]

Janet Maslin wrote that while Scream offered original ideas for the genre, it quickly exhausted them.[164] John Hartl offered a similar sentiment, believing Scream was so focused on referencing other films that it did not know when to "settle down to tell a coherent story".[157] Bill Stamets considered these references insightful, particularly the killers' motives, saying "Killers without motives are far more scary."[163]

Critics such as Berardinelli, Thomas, and Leonard Klady wrote positively of the ensemble cast and their instrumentality in the film's success.[ar] Peter Stack and Dave Kehr praised Campbell for her standout performance that successfully carried the central focus on her character, portraying a tough, capable heroine who avoids the "damsel in distress" archetype.[as] While some reviewers appreciated Cox for delivering a strong performance in an against-type role, others criticized her for being unconvincing as a tough and career-obsessed reporter.[at] Thomas and John Hartl wrote that Arquette delivered a "goofily charming" performance.[159][157] Lisa Alspector described Ulrich as the only cast member capable of balancing genuine characterization with self-parody.[169][159][161]

The film's opening sequence received praise for building tension and suspense. Gleiberman and Richard Harrington appreciated the absence of gratuitous nudity in the scene, which was atypical for the genre.[au] Kevin Thomas credited Irwin's "resourcefulness" and Lussier's "razor-sharp" editing as key to Scream's success.[159]

Accolades[edit]

At the 23rd Saturn Awards in 1997, Scream won awards for Best Actress (Campbell), Best Writing (Williamson), and Best Horror Film.[171] The film was named Best Movie at the MTV Movie Awards, and Campbell was nominated for Best Female Performance.[172] Scream was named Best Film by the International Horror Guild.[173] Craven also received the Grand Prize at the Gérardmer Film Festival.[174]

Post-release[edit]

Home media[edit]

The soundtrack was released in December 1996, by TVT records as Scream: Music From The Dimension Motion Picture; it sold poorly.[175][130][176] Scream was released on VHS and Laserdisc in June 1997, becoming one of the best performing rentals of August, and of the top-selling releases of the year.[177][178][179] In 2000, Scream was released as part of "The Ultimate Scream Collection", alongside its then-two sequels, Scream 2 (1997) and Scream 3 (2000). The release introduced special features including cast screen tests, outtakes, and a documentary about the making of the three films featuring interviews with Craven, Williamson, Campbell, Cox, and Arquette.[180][181] A Director's Cut release of Scream restored uncut sequences removed for the theatrical release.[182]

The film was released on Blu-ray in 2011, including previously released special features.[183][184][185] For the film's 25th anniversary in 2021, Scream was remastered and released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a steelbook case.[26][25] Alongside the previously released special features, the remastered version included "A Bloody Legacy: Scream 25 Years Later", a documentary featuring new interviews with the cast and crew.[186][187] In 2022, Varèse Sarabande released the score in a limited-edition six-disc box CD set and digitally, alongside Beltrami's work on other installments, as well as unreleased music, demos, and alterate versions. A four-LP record set was released separately in a jacket that turns into a Ghostface mask.[123]

Other media[edit]

A 2011 documentary, Still Screaming: The Ultimate Scary Movie Retrospective, documents the production of the original trilogy of Scream films, and includes interviews with cast and crew from throughout the series.[188] A book, It All Began with a Scream by Padraic Maroney, was also released that year, offering a similar look at the production of Scream and its three immediate sequels.[189][190]

The popularity of the Ghostface character generated a variety of merchandise, and the killer's outfit remained a popular Halloween costume as of 2023.[av]

Thematic analysis[edit]

Themes[edit]

Scream is influenced by, and pays many homages to, the history of the horror genre, including a school janitor referencing Freddy Krueger, a cameo appearance by Linda Blair, famed for her appearance in The Exorcist (1973), and the killers admonishing the police for not watching Prom Night for advice. In a meta reference, Randy recounts the rules of the genre: to survive a horror film, characters cannot sin by drinking, taking drugs, or having sex, and they cannot say "'I'll be right back.' Because you won't be back".[26][164][163] This self reference is extended when Randy (Jamie Kennedy), watches Halloween and yells at the lead character Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) to look behind her, oblivious to the killer approaching himself from behind. Further, Kenny futilely yells at Randy to look behind him while observing via a remote camera.[163] When Sidney confronts Billy and Stu, she says "You've seen one too many movies", to which Billy replies "Movies don't create psychos, movies make psychos more creative."[aw] Writer Kate Gardener believed this dialogue rejects the blame on horror films for inspiring real-world violence.[195] Lussier said the MPAA had objected to this dialogue because "you can't speak that kind of truth."[25]

Writers Adam White and Michelle Delgado wrote that Scream is an exploration of the "exploitative" nature of the news media using traumatic events as entertainment. The debut of Scream coincided with growing discourse in the United States on the impact of on-screen violence and its potential consequences for society. During this time, the Clinton administration introduced the V-chip, a device designed to enable parents to block mature television content. However, news programs remained exempt from the ratings system, which Delgado said continued to "exploit" violent incidents to captivate audiences.[196][197] Gale portrays a relentless television reporter who used Maureen's murder to further her own career and seeks to do the same with the Woodsboro murders. Although Gale advocates for the innocence of Cotton Weary in Maureen's death, she does so both because she believes he is innocent and to secure a lucrative book deal.[196][197][195] While Gale's actions revolve around profiting from the suffering of others, she is depicted not as a villain but a careerist and an antagonist to Sidney who evolves into a heroic figure, aiding in the deaths of Billy and Stu. Gardener wrote that making a living from murder is not morally equal to committing murder, but that it represents the commodification of crime and female trauma. Scream acknowledges the audience's voyeuristic interest in murder and horror, underscoring the monetary value placed on sensationalized crimes.[195]

White described Williamson's script as emblematic of its time, featuring a "picture-perfect" mother raped and murdered in American suburbia and the stalking of her daughter one year later. He compared it to contemporary sensationalized cases such as the Murder trial of O. J. Simpson, Lorena Bobbit's assault of her husband, the Long Island Lolita case, and the Gainesville Ripper.[196] The Ripper's defence included his assertion of being influenced by films such as The Exorcist III (1990). Despite public concerns about the influence of violent media, instances of violent crime were decreasing when Scream was released and there remained no direct link between violent media content and real-life crimes.[197] Even so, public fascination with these media portrayals created a form of celebrity for the victims or perpetrators, with dramatic events being turned into documentaries and films. In Scream, Sidney jokes that a film will be made about the traumatic events of her life and, in the sequels, the film-within-a-film Stab horror series is created, based partly on the events of each preceding Scream entry.[196]

Analysis[edit]

Author Padraic Maroney wrote that Scream was pro-feminism, depicting several final girls who fight the killer instead of submitting. The success of Scream demonstrated to studios that although typically seen as fare for young males, horror films had an untapped female market.[198] Writer Aime Simon said Sidney, like Craven's Nancy Thompson, is allowed to develop as a character by surviving successive films.[198] The Scream films often explore female trauma through characters such as Sidney and Gale, including the dangers posed by angry males who feel rejected. Gardener said that although this may not have been Craven's intention, the film's narrative effectively conveys this theme. She continued that the male killers in Scream enact violence and intimidation primarily on women, including Casey who romantically rejects Stu before the events of the film, and Sidney's mother Maureen, as Billy blames her for the end of his parents' marriage. Maureen is not responsible for his mother leaving, but Billy blames her, takes his anger out on her directly, and then abuses Sidney's emotional vulnerability caused by her death. In this way, the portrayal of Billy and Stu as angry entitled men seeking revenge is more relatable and realistic than supernatural horror villains.[195]

Scream has been analyzed for homosexual or queer undertones, influenced by Williamson's own experiences as a gay man. He has expressed how his personal struggles informed Sidney's character because he identified parallels between her survival tactics and those of young gay individuals. In a 2021 interview, he said "as a gay kid, I related to the final girl and to her struggle because it's what one has to do to survive as a young gay kid, too. Subconsciously, I think the Scream movies are coded in gay survival."[199] Several publications have highlighted the positive response from gay fans of the franchise to these underlying themes.[200][199][201]

Some writers, such as Maroney, Brant Lewis, and Joe Lipsett, have discussed the theory that Billy and Stu are in a homosexual relationship or that Stu held unrequited feelings for Billy.[ax] Professor David Greven wrote that Billy and Stu are representative of the changing notions of masculinity and the underlying currents of queer desire in 90s films. The interactions between them throughout the movie contain themes of homoeroticism, such as when Stu playfully touches Randy's earlobe or leans on Billy during the climax before they stab each other with phallic weapons. Greven believed that although it is easy to assign homosexuality to Stu because of his lack of motive to kill and apparent willingness to please his friend, Billy also features homoerotic characteristics such as the gay trope of fixating on his maternal relationship, similar to Norman Bates in Psycho, and Billy's visual styling resembling actor James Dean, considered a queer icon.[200] Williamson loosely based the characters on Leopold and Loeb,[203] queer individuals who committed murder to prove their intellectual superiority.[ay] In a 2022 interview he said he was "very hesitant to present the gay side of me in [Scream]" and that any queerness in Billy's and Stu's characters was "a little coded and maybe accidental."[205]

Legacy[edit]

Cultural influence[edit]

In the decades following its release, Scream has remained an enduringly popular horror film and launched a successful film franchise.[198][25] It is credited with revitalizing the horror genre, which had significantly declined in popularity by the early 1990s.[az] Far Out and MTV described Scream as a "ground-breaking" slasher film that "successfully crossed over into the mainstream" because of its deft blend of traditional horror with self-aware commentary and satire.[28][209] Vox wrote that Scream "mainstreamed metatextual storytelling and made that analytical understanding of the genre mainstream in a lot of ways."[210] Studios rushed to capitalize on Scream's success with teen-centric horror films and television series leading into the 2000s, such as I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Urban Legend (1998) and Cherry Falls (2000), as well as sequels to popular, but diminished, franchises such as Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and Bride of Chucky (both 1998).[ba] Scream also serves as the subject of the parody film Scary Movie (2000), which in turn launched its own franchise of horror spoofs.[211][214][215] Director Jordan Peele has credited Scream as a direct inspiration for his own influential horror film, Get Out (2017), in manipulating the audience's expectations of the modern horror genre.[210]

Scream helped launch or bolster the careers of its principal stars, including Campbell, Ulrich, Lillard, McGowan, Kennedy, and Arquette.[26][212] Williamson became an in-demand screenwriter, contributing to horror films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and television series Dawson's Creek (1998–2003).[26][148] Scream helped revitalize Craven's career after several career setbacks and a string of poor performances.[216] Lussier credited his work on Scream's opening with his transition to director, beginning with Dracula 2000 (2000).[68] Barrymore's involvement helped raised the profile of the horror genre, making it a more attractive prospect for prominent actors instead of relative unknowns.[217] In a 2021 interview, Kennedy said he was still approached by fans about his horror rules monologue.[27] Lillard described Scream as a "seminal" moment of his career.[26][28] He and Campbell began a two-year relationship during filming, while Cox and Arquette married and eventually divorced.[26][28][218]

Scream has often been referenced in popular culture in and outside the horror genre.[198][210] The Ghostface killer is considered to be among the most iconic cinematic horror villains.[bb] As of 2021, Lillard's improvised dialogue, "My mom and dad are gonna be so mad at me", was still quoted to him by fans.[25]

In the years since its release, Scream was cited as an influence in several violent crimes and murders, with perpetrators sometimes dressing as Ghostface, as in the 2006 murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart.[bc] Following the Columbine High School massacre in 2000, an increasing media and public scrutiny on the influence of violent films, games, and other media on society the United States Senate Commerce committee reviewed the marketing of films to youths, specifically the horror genre. Scream's opening was shown as an example of negative media which may be viewed by children.[232] The use of Caller ID to identify incoming callers also increased by 300% following Scream's release.[211][237]

Retrospective assessments[edit]

Scream is regarded as a classic of the horror genre,[57][198][238] and among the greatest horror and slasher films ever made.[bd] Several publications have also listed it among the best films of the 1990s.[be] Williamson believed Scream's success was due, in part, to fitting the contemporary zeitgeist when "everyone wanted to have scary and fun in their life ... If the movie had been released at any other time, I'm not sure that would've been the case". Campbell believed it connected with audiences because of a deft combination of humor, horror, and intelligence.[25] As of 2023, Scream remains the highest-grossing film in the Scream film series,[95][267] and is generally considered to be the best film in the series.[bf] The franchise is also among the highest-grossing horror franchises, alongside Halloween, Saw, and The Conjuring Universe.[95]

In 2008, Empire ranked the film number 482 on its list of "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time",[279] and Entertainment Weekly listed Scream as one of the Best High School movies and among the best films of the preceding 13 years.[280][281] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 81% from the aggregated reviews of 88 critics, with an average score of 7.4/10. The consensus reads: "Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some".[282] The film has a score of 65 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[283] The British Film Institute called the opening scene "one of the all-time great pre-credit scenes—an unforgettable masterclass of building tension, heart-stopping terror, and shocking images."[238] The scene appeared at number 13 on Bravo's 2004 list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments.[284]

Sequels[edit]

Due to the success of Scream, development of a sequel began while the original was still in theaters.[25][30] Scream 2 (1997) achieved similar financial and critical success as Scream.[208] Williamson was unavailable to write Scream 3 (2000), the trilogy's concluding chapter, and was replaced with Ehren Kruger. The film fared less well than its predecessors, commercially and critically, and is regarded as the franchise's most divisive entry.[208][285] Williamson returned to the series with the reboot film Scream 4 (2011).[bg] While Scream 4 has grown in esteem since its release, its modest box office and critical reception, as well as Craven's death, placed the franchise on hold.[287][285]

A television adaptation, Scream (2015–2019), ran for three seasons. The Weinsteins refused to license the Fun World costume for the show or allow references to the films, which was controversial with fans and contributed to the series' low ratings, poor reception, and eventual cancellation.[289][290]

The film series was relaunched with Scream (2022), and its success led to immediate development of a sixth installment, Scream VI (2023). Both films are directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.[208][291][292] These films focus on a younger cast, including Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega, with Campbell, Cox, and Arquette appearing in supporting legacy roles. Scream VI is the first film in the series to not feature Arquette or Campbell, who declined to return following a dispute over pay.[208][291] A seventh film is in development as of 2023.[293]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[12][14][21][22][23]
  2. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[24][25][26][27]
  3. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[29][26][28][27]
  4. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[26][28][27][30][29]
  5. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[27][29][26][25]
  6. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[36][25][26][37]
  7. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[27][26][29][25][38]
  8. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[40][41][42][26][9][36][43]
  9. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[44][26][45][28][31]
  10. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[46][26][25][33]
  11. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[25][26][47][48][38][49]
  12. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[25][26][33][50][51][52]
  13. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[28][25][26][38]
  14. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[43][55][26][31][25][56][9]
  15. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[64][65][27][25][26]
  16. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[17][25][67][68]
  17. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[27][26][74][32]
  18. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[26][25][75][76]
  19. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[65][26][27][80][81][82][78][76][83]
  20. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[85][86][87][37][32]
  21. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[77][88][87][37][77]
  22. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[66][90][89][26]
  23. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[66][90][89][26]
  24. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[89][26][91][92]
  25. ^ The 1996 budget of $14 million is equivalent to $26.1 million in 2022.
  26. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[26][25][75][76]
  27. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[26][25][17][68]
  28. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[47][25][100][99]
  29. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[26][47][57][25][99]
  30. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[26][57][25][101]
  31. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[89][26][91][92][57][25][102]
  32. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[61][25][96][26][104]
  33. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[65][26][27][80][81][82][78][76]
  34. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[25][27][31][3][26][109][110]
  35. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[40][41][42][26][9][43]
  36. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[104][26][112][113]
  37. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[117][115][25][116][37]
  38. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[25][120][121][122]
  39. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[25][125][124][126][127]
  40. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[26][131][132][133][134][135]
  41. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[25][95][151][141][152]
  42. ^ The 1996 worldwide box office of $173 million is equivalent to $323 million in 2022.
  43. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[155][156][21][157][158][159][160][161][162][163][164][165][166][167]
  44. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[161][165][159][21]
  45. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[168][161][21][166][159]
  46. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[165][168][161][21][159]
  47. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[157][162][170][160]
  48. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[191][192][193][194]
  49. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[159][163][26][195]
  50. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[202][199][201][200]
  51. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[204][200][199][201]
  52. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[206][207][25][26][31][208][61][95][209]
  53. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[143][211][26][31][212][210][213]
  54. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[28][26][64][219][220][221][222][223][224][225][226][227]
  55. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[228][229][230][231][232][233][234][235][236]
  56. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[239][240][241][242][243][244][245][246][247][248][249][250][251][252][253][254][255][256][257][258][259][260]
  57. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[261][262][263][264][265][266]
  58. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[268][269][270][271][272][273][274][275][276][277][278]
  59. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[208][286][287][288]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

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Works cited[edit]

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