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With the latest release of the new Scream VI trailer, which you can watch here, we thought we should look back at how Ghostface slashed his way into being a horror genre legend.

The Scream franchise is one of the most iconic and successful horror movie series of all time. Directed by legendary horror mastermind, Wes Craven, the movies follow a group of teens who find themselves being stalked by a killer known as Ghostface. But how did this terrifying franchise come to be?

It all started in 1996 with the release of the first Scream movie. Written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, the movie was a fresh take on the horror genre, with a clever and self-referential script that poked fun at the conventions of typical slasher films. The movie starred Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, and quickly became a box office hit, grossing $173 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing slasher film until the release of Halloween (2018).

Screenwriter Kevin Williamson came up with the idea for the movie while watching a 1994 episode of ABC News’ Turning Point about the serial killer dubbed the Gainesville Ripper. House-sitting at the time, Williamson was spooked when he saw a window was open that he was convinced he had closed. 

After the film landed at Dimension, the task of finding a director was underhand. Wes Craven did eventually sign as the director after initially passing on the project.

“Every name you could imagine came up [to direct],” Williamson told The Ringer. “Wes’s name came up really early. Robert Rodriguez‘s name came up. Quentin Tarantino’s name came up.”

Ultimately, it was Craven’s then-assistant Julie Plec, who would go on to co-create The Vampire Diaries among other TV hits, who helped convince him to return to the genre after the filmmaker’s New Nightmare failed to perform at the box office.

Wes Craven Image via Esquire

“At the time I was working at Wes’s house, so I would have lunch with him every day. And so I said, ‘Remember that great script? They’re having a hard time finding a director and they really want you to do it,’” Plec recalled to The Ringer. “I was just kind of making quote-unquote innocent small talk. And he said, ‘Ah, well they should just make me an offer I can’t refuse then.’ And I think he was joking, but I went back to [director of development] Lisa [Harrison] and I said, ‘He said make him an offer he can’t refuse.’ And so Dimension did. And he took it.”

Scream 2

But the success of Scream didn’t stop there. The movie was also a critical darling, with many praising its clever writing and inventive use of horror tropes. This led to the creation of a sequel, Scream 2, which was released in 1997. The sequel was just as successful as the first movie, grossing $172 million worldwide and receiving positive reviews from critics. This was an even greater success due to the fact that their were significant issues with plot information leaking onto the internet – including the reveal of the killers – causing several script re-writes.

The franchise continued to grow with the release of Scream 3 in 2000, Scream 4 in 2011, and Scream 5 in 2022. Each movie introduced new characters and new twists to the series, while still maintaining the same blend of horror and humor that made the first movie such a hit.

Box Office Gross of the Scream Movies:

  • Scream (1996) $173 Million USD
  • Scream 2 $172.4 Million USD
  • Scream 3 $161.8 Million USD
  • Scream 4 $97.2 Million USD
  • Scream 5 $140 Million USD

All five Scream movies have grossed over $744.4 million worldwide, and the franchise has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring a TV series, merchandise, and even a video game.

The movies have also become beloved by horror fans, with many praising the franchise for its clever writing, memorable characters, and inventive use of horror tropes. And with the success of the franchise, it’s clear that the Scream movies will continue to be a staple in the horror genre for years to come.

Overall, the Scream franchise is one of the most successful and influential horror series of all time. And if you’re a fan of horror movies, it’s definitely worth checking out. So grab some popcorn and get ready to scream!

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