Scream 4

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Scream 4
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWes Craven
Produced by
Written byKevin Williamson
Based onCharacters
by Kevin Williamson
Music byMarco Beltrami
CinematographyPeter Deming
Edited byPeter McNulty
Distributed byDimension Films[1]
Release date
  • April 11, 2011 (2011-04-11) (TCL Chinese Theatre)
  • April 15, 2011 (2011-04-15) (United States)
Running time
111 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million[2]
Box office$97.1 million[2]

Scream 4 (stylized as SCRE4M) is a 2011 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. Produced by Outerbanks Entertainment and distributed by Dimension Films, it is the fourth and final installment in the Scream film series. The film stars an ensemble cast, which includes David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Anthony Anderson, Alison Brie, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin, Marielle Jaffe, Erik Knudsen, Mary McDonnell, Marley Shelton and Nico Tortorella. The film takes place on the fifteenth anniversary of the original Woodsboro murders and involves Sidney Prescott returning to the town after ten years, as part of her book tour. As soon as she arrives, Ghostface once again begins killing students from Woodsboro High, relying on the rules of remakes. Like its predecessor, Scream 4 combines the violence of the slasher genre with elements of dark comedy and "whodunit" mystery to satirize the clichés of film remakes. The film also provides a commentary on the extensive usage of social media and the obsession of internet fame.

The series was originally intended to be a trilogy, concluding with Scream 3 in 2000. However, in June 2008, The Weinstein Company announced a third sequel was in development, with Craven confirmed to return in March 2010. Principal photography took place from June to September 2010, taking place in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan. During production, Ehren Kruger, who previously wrote the screenplay for Scream 3, was hired for script rewrites. Reshoots were filmed in early 2011, following test screenings.

Scream 4 premiered in Los Angeles on April 11, 2011 and was released in the United States on April 15, 2011. The film grossed $97 million worldwide, becoming the lowest-grossing film of the Scream franchise. It received mixed reviews, with critics praising the performances, direction and humor, with many considering the film to be an improvement over its predecessor. However, others were critical of its lack of scares and reliance on clichéd formulas. Scream 4 was the final film to be directed by Craven before his death in 2015, and was followed by an anthology television series developed for MTV and without the involvement of Craven, Williamson, Arquette, Campbell and Cox.


On the fifteenth anniversary of the original Woodsboro massacre, high school students Jenny Randall and Marnie Cooper are murdered by a new Ghostface.

The following day, Sidney Prescott, now 32 years old, returns to Woodsboro to promote her new book with her publicist Rebecca Walters. After evidence is found in Sidney's rental car, Sidney becomes a suspect in the murders and must stay in town until they are solved. Sidney's cousin, Jill, who is dealing with the betrayal of her ex-boyfriend, Trevor Sheldon, gets a threatening phone call from Ghostface, as does her friend and neighbor Olivia Morris. Jill and Olivia, alongside their friend Kirby Reed, are questioned about their calls by Dewey Riley, who is now the sheriff, while one of his deputies, Judy Hicks, assists him in the case. Meanwhile, Dewey's wife, Gale Weathers-Riley, is struggling with writer's block and decides to investigate the murder instead.

Sidney stays with Jill and her aunt Kate Roberts. Later that night, Olivia is killed by Ghostface as Jill and Kirby watch in horror. Sidney and Jill rush in to save Olivia, but the killer injures them and gets away. Sidney fires Rebecca after learning of her plan to use the murders as a means to increase book sales. Rebecca is subsequently murdered in the parking garage by Ghostface. Gale enlists the help of two high school movie fanatics, Charlie Walker and Robbie Mercer, who explains that the killer is using the rules of movie remakes. Charlie concludes that the killer will likely strike at a party being held that night.

Gale goes to the party to investigate. Ghostface injures her but flees when Dewey arrives. Dewey takes her to the hospital. At Jill's house, Sidney discovers that the policemen assigned to guard the house are dead. She also discovers that Jill has left the house and gone to Kirby's. Sidney goes down to tell Kate, but the killer appears, kills Kate, and disappears again. After Deputy Judy Hicks arrives, Sidney rushes to Kirby's house to save Jill on her own.

Jill, Kirby, Charlie, Robbie and Trevor are at Kirby's house when Ghostface appears. Ghostface approaches a drunken Robbie, about to kill him, when he tries to save himself by saying that he's gay, before he is murdered. Sidney arrives at the house to leave with Jill, until they are both chased by Ghostface. Sidney evades the killer and calls Dewey. Kirby is forced to answer horror movie trivia to save Charlie, who is tied up outside. Meanwhile, Sidney goes upstairs to find Jill. After Kirby answers Ghostface's questions, she goes outside to untie Charlie. He suddenly stabs her in the stomach and reveals himself as Ghostface, before leaving her for dead. Sidney is confronted by Charlie and stabbed by a second Ghostface, who is revealed as Jill. Jill explains that her motive was out of anger and jealousy because of the fame that Sidney had received for surviving the murders, and that they intend to frame Trevor as Ghostface. Charlie then pulls Trevor out of a closet and Jill kills him. Jill then betrays Charlie and kills him as a means to pin him as Trevor's accomplice and make herself the sole survivor. Jill stabs Sidney in the stomach and mutilates herself to make it seem as if Trevor attacked her. Later, Dewey, Judy, and the rest of the police stumble upon the carnage.

Sidney and Jill are then taken to the hospital. After discovering that Sidney has survived, Jill goes to Sidney's hospital room and attempts to finish her. Dewey, Gale, and Judy intervene, having been clued by a detail about Gale's injury that Jill somehow knew. Jill subdues Dewey and Judy, which gives Sidney the chance to finally kill Jill. Dewey calls in all police units, as media reporters outside confirm Jill as the "sole-surviving hero", a title that would be short lived once her true actions become known.




Scream 4 was announced by The Weinstein Company in July 2008,[3] with Wes Craven saying that he would not mind directing the film if the script was as good as Scream.[4] In March 2010 it was confirmed that he would indeed direct.[5]

In May 2010, Cathy Konrad, who produced the first three films in the series, filed a $3 million lawsuit against The Weinstein Company, alleging that they violated a written agreement that entitled her company, Cat Entertainment, first rights to produce all films in the series.[6] The Weinsteins argued that this contract required Konrad's services be exclusive to the franchise, which Konrad calls "false pretext", claiming the previous film did not require this condition.[6] The suit accuses the Weinsteins of surreptitious behavior and "a scheme to force Plaintiffs to walk away from the Scream franchise without compensation,"[6] enabling them to cut costs by hiring someone else to produce (Craven's wife, Iya Labunka, not named in the suit).[7] In April 2011, it was reported that the Weinsteins had settled out of court with Konrad, the details remaining confidential, though it was claimed that she would receive a cash payment plus a percentage of the profits from Scream 4.[8]


Craven stated that within the ten years that have passed between Scream 3 and Scream 4, there have been no "real life" Ghostface murders but have been numerous sequels to the film-within-a-film Stab. He also commented on the life status of Sidney Prescott, "She's done her best to move on from the events that occurred in the previous films, even releasing a successful book". Craven said that endless sequels, the modern spew of remakes, film studios, and directors are the butts of parodies in the film. The main characters have to figure out where the horror genre is in current days to figure out the modern events happening to and around them.[9]

In an early draft of the script, Gale and Dewey had a baby, but this was changed after it was decided bringing a baby into the film would make shooting "impossible". In another early form of the script, the opening scene had Sidney go head-to-head with Ghostface and be left for dead. There would have been a two-year gap in the story while she recovered; however, Bob Weinstein feared it would slow the pace of the story and bringing in young characters would work out best.[10] There were numerous other differences between the original script and the version that eventually made it to screen. For instance, the opening sequences were changed around, as can be seen in the alternative versions and deleted scenes on the DVD. Also, the Stabathon and the sequences involving Gale being attacked there did not feature in the original script. Another major difference was the ending. The hospital finale scenes have a tacked-on feel because they were tacked on. The original script ended at the house, with Jill being loaded into the ambulance and speaking to Dewey, then agreeing to give the photographers one photo under the pretense that they would then leave her alone (though she actually wanted them to take her photograph). Just then, a paramedic from inside the house shouts that they have a woman alive, apparently Sidney. The film was supposed to end on this cliffhanger, presumably setting Jill up as an antagonist/anti-heroine in the next film. There were rumors that Sidney would then possibly be suffering from amnesia in the next film, unable to recall that Jill was the killer. There were also rumors that Williamson was upset that this ending was changed.[11][12]

Scream 3 writer Ehren Kruger was brought in during production to do re-writes. Craven said, "Look, there was a bumpy period when things shifted over from Kevin to Ehren. I signed up to do a script by Kevin and unfortunately that didn't go all the way through the shooting. But it certainly is Kevin's script and concept and characters and themes".[13] Additional rewrites were made by Paul Harris Boardman.[14][15] It was reported that the actors were not given the 140-page script[16] past page 75 in order to protect the identity of the Ghostface killer.[17]


Emma Roberts at the film's premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

In September 2009, Variety reported that Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox would return.[18] Craven briefly explained their roles in a later interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying "It's a total integration of those three and new kids. The story of Sid, Gale, and Dewey is very much a part of the movie."[9] At a press conference for Repo Men, Liev Schreiber—who played Cotton Weary in the first three films—stated there were no plans for his reprisal.[19] In an interview with FEARnet, Williamson continued to deny a rumor of Jamie Kennedy returning, "I would love nothing more than to have Jamie Kennedy in the film. However to have Randy in the film, it sort of just takes it... I mean Scream 2 was a lie, you know? It's a false move. So I just won't do it. I can't do that. I just won't do it."[20] In April, over 12 casting sides were released to the public to buy for auditions of the film.[21]

In May 2010, Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin signed on.[22] Ashley Greene was offered the role of Sidney's cousin, Jill, but the role later went to Emma Roberts.[23] Lake Bell was to play Deputy Judy Hicks, but dropped out four days before filming due to scheduling conflicts, causing the role to ultimately go to Marley Shelton.[24] Nancy O'Dell reprises her role from the second and third films as a reporter.[25] Roger L. Jackson returned as the voice of Ghostface.[26] Lauren Graham was to play Kate Roberts, the mother of Roberts' character, but dropped out a few days into principal photography.[27][28] Craven, like in the previous three films, has a cameo and took to his Twitter to ask fans to pick his role (the cameo was, however, deleted from the final cut of the film).[29] The Hollywood Reporter reported that Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell have cameos in the beginning of the film akin to Drew Barrymore and Jada Pinkett Smith in the first and second films.[16] Shenae Grimes and Lucy Hale also have cameos in the film.[30] In September 2010, Aimee Teegarden and Britt Robertson were cast as the film's actual opening roles, Jenny Randall and Marnie Cooper.[31][32]


Cast of movie on the set in July 2010

On a budget of $40 million, principal photography began on June 28, 2010.[9] Filming was scheduled to end on September 6, after a 42-day shoot, but instead concluded on September 24.[16] Filming took place in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan.[33][34] Scenes portraying Woodsboro High School featured in the original Scream film were shot at Woodworth Middle School in Dearborn, Michigan.[35] The former 16th District Court in Livonia, Michigan was used as a police station.[36]

In April 2010, while scouting for a bookstore to use in the film, Craven spotted a new bookstore that had not yet opened in downtown Northville, Michigan named Next Chapter Bookstore Bistro. Craven instantly loved the building as well as the name and decided to use both in the film. He also hired the owner's chef to prepare the food and pastry for a scene in the film. The scenes were shot the first week of July.[37] After the test screening in January, Craven and Weinstein did not think two scenes played well for the audience. Aimee Teegarden and Alison Brie returned to Detroit in late January and early February 2011 for four days of additional shooting. The scenes involved Teegarden's character who is stalked at her home and Brie's character who is attacked in a parking garage.[38][39][40]

The film also extensively used computer-generated imagery for the first time in the franchise. For example, instead of using a "collapsing knife", the knife's blade was added during post-production with CGI effects.[41] Anderson's death scene in which he is stabbed in the forehead and walks a few feet while talking before finally falling to his death, was not in the script but was inspired by a "real-life medical emergency" Craven had seen in a documentary about a person being stabbed through their head and walked into an emergency room. He thought it was "extraordinary if somebody was stabbed in the head and still be alive for a while". Craven also did not tell the studio that he was taking this approach for the death scene, jokingly saying he hoped he would not be fired the next day.[42]


Scream 4 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedApril 12, 2011
GenrePop, rock
LabelLakeshore Records
ProducerBuck Sanders, Richard Glasser
Various artists chronology
Scream 3: The Album
Scream 4 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Scream 4: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on April 12, 2011, by Lakeshore Records.[43] A score soundtrack was also released, on April 19, 2011, by Varèse Sarabande.[44]

Scream 4: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1."Something to Die For"Jesper Anderberg
Johan Bengtsson
Fredrik Blond
Maja Ivarsson
Felix Rodriguez
The Sounds3:42
2."Bad Karma"Desmond Child
Ida Maria Sivertsen
Stefan Tornby
Ida Maria2:55
3."Cup of Coffee"Corey Marriott
Jay Marriott
Steve Turnock
Liam Young
The Novocaines1:30
4."Make My Body"Christophe Eagleton
Kamtin Mohager
The Chain Gang of 19743:37
5."Don't Mess with the Original"Marco BeltramiMarco Beltrami3:33
6."Yeah Yeah Yeah"Jesper Anderberg
Johan Bengtsson
Fredrik Blond
Maja Ivarsson
Felix Rodriguez
The Sounds3:31
7."Run for Your Life"Tamara Schlesinger6 Day Riot2:32
8."Axel F"Harold FaltermeyerRaney Shockne3:01
9."On Fire"Jesse LazLocksley1:54
10."Devils"Eric ElbogenSay Hi2:20
11."Denial"Lucas Banker
Logan Conrad Mader
Stereo Black3:43
12."Jill's America"Marco BeltramiMarco Beltrami3:26
Total length:35:51


The film was released in North America on April 15, 2011.

Box office[edit]

Scream 4 grossed $38.2 million in the United States and Canada and $59 million in other territories for a total gross of $97.1 million, against its budget of $40 million.[2]

The film was released in 3,305 theaters on 4,400 screens and grossed over $1 million in its midnight previews.[45] It made $8.7 million on Friday and $19.3 million in its opening weekend, finishing second at the box office.[46][47] According to industry experts, the film's opening weekend was "disappointing,"[46][48] experiencing the second-lowest opening of the Scream franchise.[49] In its second weekend, it fell to fifth place, taking in $7.2 million.

In its first weekend worldwide the film took $37.3 million from 30 territories, behind only Rio which took $53.9 million from 62 territories. The film topped the box office in the United Kingdom taking over £2 million, came in second in France, third in Mexico and fourth in Australia.[50]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 60% based on 183 reviews; the average rating is 5.85/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The franchise is showing its age, but Scream 4 is undeniably an improvement over its predecessor, with just enough meta humor and clever kills."[51] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[52] CinemaScore polls reported that audiences gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[48]

Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars, criticizing the film for using the clichéd formula of the slasher genre, but complimenting Craven's direction and Williamson's dialogue.[53] Empire gave the film two out of five stars, criticizing the film's old-fashioned formula and lack of scare factor.[54] The New York Daily News thought the film was "dated" and that "relying on obvious clichés doesn't seem ironic anymore, just easy."[55] The Toronto Sun gave the film a mixed review, writing that "this installment is nowhere near the hip, serrated-edge blast of newness the original was in 1996. Suddenly, it's the horror thriller that, like, your parents are excited about"; however, the review praised director Wes Craven.[56] Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave the film a perfect score of four out of four stars, praising the combination of scares, comedy, and twists.[57]

The Boston Herald wrote that the film is "often amusing" but too long.[58] Lisa Kennedy from the Denver Post stated that Scream 4 "pays plenty of homage to their 1996 original", but that it is not close to its greatness, despite calling it a "cut above most slasher flicks".[59] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly praised the film, stating "It's a giddy reminder of everything that made Scream such a fresh scream in the first place,"[60] while Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "Scream 4 finds a way to live up to its gory past while it carves out new terrors in new ways."[61] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the movie two out of four stars, criticizing the comedic overtones.[62]


In June 2011, Scream 4 was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Best Horror Movie but lost to Paranormal Activity 2.[63]

On March 2, 2012, Scream 4 won the award for Best Horror Movie, and Ghostface came in third place for Best Villain at the Virgin Media Movie Awards.[64]

Home media[edit]

Scream 4 was first released on DVD and Blu-ray in Mexico on August 5, 2011.[65] It was later released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on August 22, 2011,[66] in Canada and the United States on October 4, 2011,[67][68] and in Australia and New Zealand on October 13, 2011.[69] The film has made roughly $4,103,282 in DVD sales in the United States, bringing the film's lifetime gross to approximately $101,334,702.[70] In the US DVD and Blu-ray rental charts, Scream 4 entered at #2 on its week of release.[71] The film then spent 7 consecutive weeks inside the top twenty of the chart.[72] Scream 4 made its television debut on April 20, 2012 on cable channel Showtime.[73] In December 2012, Showtime featured Scream 4 during a free weekend preview, where the station would be available in over 80 million homes in America.[74] On April 19, 2013, Scream 4 was added to Netflix's instant online streaming service.[75] To promote the DVD and Blu-ray release, Universal Studios produced "Terror Tram: SCRE4M For Your Life" as an event featured in its annual Halloween Horror Nights throughout September and October 2011.[76]


Prior to the release of Scream 4, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson both stated that its success would lead to a fifth and sixth film. Following the under-performance of the film at the box office, as well as the death of Craven in 2015, doubts were cast on the possibility of future films. In 2015, MTV began airing an anthology television series spin-off of the franchise, although none of the cast or crew from the films were involved. Although star Neve Campbell has expressed doubts over any more installments, David Arquette voiced his desire to have a fifth film to pay homage to Craven.[77]

In June 2015, Bob Weinstein, when asked about the possibility of a film continuation after Scream 4, denied the possibility of a fifth installment or any further continuation of the film franchise, citing the MTV series as the right place for the franchise.[78]

However, in early 2019, it was reported that Blumhouse Productions, which specializes in horror-themed films and produced a direct sequel of the Halloween film in 2018, was interested in reviving the series, and that head of studio Jason Blum was working on making such Scream installments happen.[79] Rumors arose later in the year that Blumhouse was rebooting the franchise, though Blumhouse later said they were not, but the rumors continued, indicating that another studio was involved.[80]

In November 2019 it was reported that Spyglass Media Group is making a new installment in the franchise. It is currently unknown if this will be a sequel, reboot, or remake. It is also unknown if Kevin Williamson or any of the three main cast members (Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette) will return.[81][82][83][84][85]


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