The most terrifying scream is always the last.
Welcome to the final act.
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"Having done it in a unique three-picture way, we can now say we've been there and done that. This is it. We knew we weren't keeping the door open for Scream 4 or Scream 5." -Bob Weinstein
Plot Summary: Production on a fictional sequel to the Stab movies is plagued by a new killer. Sidney Prescott must come out of hiding to discover the truth behind her mother's murder.
The story behind Scream 3: In 1996, Scream revived the teen horror movie, a genre that had been dead for nearly a decade, and raked in $174.8 million worldwide. A year later, Scream 2 did equal business and ignited a knockoff explosion that will be remembered forever in the movie industry as the "I Still Know What Disturbing Behavior You and the Bride of Chucky Tingle Did With Your Idle Hands Last Summer" era. As it took off, Scream launched the career of screenwriter Kevin Williamson, freed director Wes Craven from the bowels of movie horror (the 60-year-old Nightmare on Elm Street creator used the clout he won from the success of the Scream films to direct last year's Music of the Heart), and jacked up the hip quotient for a generation of bloodthirsty young actors--Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Jamie Kennedy, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Liev Schreiber, Jada Pinkett, and Rebecca Gayheart. Not to mention Cox and David Arquette, who met while working on Scream, got engaged after Scream 2, and were married by Scream 3.
So why not leave well enough alone and ditch the Scream machine before that nasty ghost-masked Ginsu freak comes crawling back a third time? "Resolution," says Craven. "We always knew we'd need a third and final act to wrap up all the loose ends. Three is where the whole story has always been heading. Three is where we find out what happens to everybody." Miramax cochair Bob Weinstein adds, "We're going out in high style, I promise that. The people who've seen Scream 3 are saying it's scarier, funnier, and far more surprising than the last two. It's an amazing end of an amazing ride."
It's certainly been an amazing ride for Miramax. Scream, a scary movie that made merry with unexpectedly hip, pop-culture-savvy references to the cliches and excesses of its slash-happy Hollywood predecessors, has become a dead-serious franchise for Miramax's Dimension Films division. "It's weird," says David Arquette, who plays Scream's dopey deputy, Dewey Riley. "In a way, we've kind of become the sort of movie we're spoofing. We became an institution, we became a part of the horror-movie tradition."
Scream, conceived from the beginning as a trilogy when Williamson hammered out his original script and outlines for two sequels in just three days, is all screamed out. "It definitely feels like it's time for it to be over," Craven admits. "Having done it in a unique three-picture way, we can now say we've been there and done that." Adds Weinstein, "This is it. We knew we weren't keeping the door open for a Scream 4 or Scream 5."
It was tough enough keeping the door open for Scream 3. For one thing, the film's actors, especially Campbell and Cox Arquette, had become major stars in the years since the original Scream, and it wasn't clear whether they would return to a genre they appeared to have outgrown. "My life is 100 percent more complicated than it was during the original," says Cox Arquette, whose contract on NBC's Friends is up this year. "Now, any decision I make when it comes to a new project tends to be very stressful." Adds Campbell, "Doing number three was a very tough decision. Bob made a call to [convince] me. Wes made a call. I was worried it wouldn't be the same group of people involved."
Campbell had every reason to worry. Although she signed on to the movie with the best intentions--"I really wanted to do this final Scream to bring a sense of closure to the character"--she and her costars, who agreed to do the movie without seeing a script, soon learned that Williamson would not be writing the third installment.
By all accounts, Williamson had overextended himself. After being anointed Miramax's golden boy, he was apparently given carte blanche to write or produce anything he wanted. His early script for Teaching Mrs. Tingle was rescued from turnaround, he sold his scripts for I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Faculty, executive-produced Halloween: H20, created the popular WB television series Dawson's Creek, and created and oversaw this season's now-canceled ABC series, Wasteland. Williamson was juggling nearly a half-dozen projects when it came time to do Scream 3. "I had too much going on," he says. "It was a very, very difficult decision, but I knew Scream was in capable hands and I just would have held it back."
Weinstein says the decision was made amicably. "Miramax loves Kevin and we expect a lot of great things from him," he says, "but nobody with that much work could fit a whole other movie into their schedule." Miramax considered waiting for Williamson, but, says Craven, "It was either delay for a whole other year or go with somebody else. I personally wanted to finish the 20th century with this particular line of stories wrapped up."
Chapter three forgets the rules, all bets are off...
Scream 3 brought Wes Craven's outrageously successful suspense trilogy to a fever-pitched climax. The first two Screams not only reinvented a genre, but also introduced a new generation to the thrills of suspense -- with a healthy dose of cutting-edge humor. Bigger and more complex than its predecessors, Scream's final chapter brings it all home by adhering to one simple principle: When it comes to a trilogy, ALL bets are off!
"The piece is a real mind twister," said director Wes Craven. "It takes the audience deep into the reality behind the reality. Nothing is as it seems. From the onset, this project was conceived as a trilogy," Craven continued. "A third movie was already sketched when we started the first. What we reveal about the back-story of the first Scream will close the whole loop and answer all unsolved questions. Scream 3 is definitely not a Readers Digest condensation of its predecessors."
The trilogy's third chapter reunites Craven with David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox Arquette, as well as Liev Schreiber. In addition to his Scream veterans, Craven's cast includes Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Lance Henrickson, Matt Keeslar, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Parker Posey, Deon Richmond, Kelly Rutherford and Patrick Warburton.
Scream 3 takes place in Hollywood during the production of "Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro," a thriller which raises troubling questions about the events that terrified the town of Woodsboro -- and continue to haunt Sidney Prescott (NEVE CAMPBELL). Three and a half years after leaving Windsor College, Sidney has settled into a life of quiet seclusion in Northern California. But the uneasy peace is shattered when terror erupts on the set of "Stab 3."
Hotshot TV personality Gale Weathers (COURTENEY COX ARQUETTE) rushes to the crime scene at the invitation of the LAPD as the ultimate expert on Woodsboro. Naturally, Gale is more than ready to jump on the "Stab 3" story. But she's not prepared to find old flame Dewey Riley (DAVID ARQUETTE), now a technical advisor on "Stab 3," in a cozy relationship with acress Jennifer Jolie (PARKER POSEY). Method-actress Jennifer, who has played Gale in all three "Stab" movies, believes "her" Gale knows best when the going gets rough on-set.
Dewey and Sidney also find themselves dealing with actor versions of themselves. Hollywood pretty-boy Tom Prinze (MATT KEESLAR) has been cast as Deputy Dewey, while Angelina Tyler (EMILY MORTIMER), a wide-eyed ingenue plucked from thousands of hopefuls at an open call, plays Sidney.
At the helm of "Stab 3" is Roman Bridger (SCOTT FOLEY), a music video director making the leap to feature films. His cast also includes Sarah Darling (JENNY McCARTHY), a world-weary starlet who has had it with bimbo roles, and Tyson Fox (DEON RICHMOND), who strives for dignity in his portrayal of a video store geek. Veteran producer John Milton (LANCE HENRICKSON) is the mastermind behind the entire "Stab" franchise.
LAPD Detective Mark Kincaid (PATRICK DEMPSEY) heads the "Stab 3" investigation. Jittery Jennifer Jolie hires her own protection, celebrity security expert Steve Stone (PATRICK WARBURTON). Cotton Weary (LIEV SCHREIBER), the former prison inmate once accused of murder, has found fame and fortune in Hollywood with a talk show "100% Cotton." Among his many fans is his live-in girlfriend Christine (KELLY RUTHERFORD).
Cathy Konrad and Marianne Maddalena, the producers of Scream and Scream 2, produced Scream 3. Kevin Williamson, who launched the trilogy with the first Scream script and then wrote its witty sequel, is also a producer of Scream 3. Ehren Kruger wrote the Scream 3 screenplay.
The project was always planned as a trilogy, so it was very important to keep the thrills fresh. There was only a year between the first second films, and two years between the second and third.
In casting Scream 3, the filmmakers had to find actors who could capture the essence of the characters created by David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox Arquette in the earlier films. Parker Posey found Cox Arquette's wit and energy, Matt Keeslar had David Arquette's sexiness and added a languid movie star quality, and Emily Mortimer focused on the core of honesty that is Campbell.
Campbell, who stars as the no-nonsense heroine in all three films, enjoyed the movie-within-a-movie concept and the opportunities it provided for humor and irony. "These movies are a lot of fun because they don't take themselves too seriously. They poke fun at the genre, the actors and sometimes even the audience."
Still, Scream's principal characters have endured ordeals that would destroy lesser beings. "Sidney has a lot of gumption," mused Campbell. "Over the years, she has developed into a very strong young woman. Most importantly, she has made the decision not to become a victim."
Craven offers a thoughtful perspective on the potential impact and importance of genre films. "The Scream movies confirm my belief that thrillers are great character pieces. They get deep under the skin of human psychology. Kids today have very real and generation-specific fears and they need a way to process these terrors in a positive and funny manner."
Producer Marianne Maddalena has worked with Craven since 1987. "Wes is an extremely complex guy," she explained. "He's a true intellectual who has a unique take on life that often translates into knowing what scares the human soul. He's really good at it."
Like its predecessors, Scream 3 was filmed under a heavy blanket of security. "There has always been a degree of secrecy on my films," said Craven. "But we really had to lighten it up after as-yet unfilmed portions of the Scream 2 script appeared on the Internet in the spring of 1997."
Patrick Dempsey was surprised by the hush-hush atmosphere. "I wouldn't know what was going to happen until I showed up at work and got the script pages for that day. But it's a very scary movie, and full of surprises. Even I won't know who the killer is (or killers are?) until I see the movie!"
International Monitor Awards
Theatrical Releases - Graphic Design (Winner)
2000 MTV Movie Awards
Best Female Performance: Neve Campbell (Nominated)
Best Comedic Performance: Parker Posey (Nominated)
Best Home Video Release (Nominated)
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
Favorite Horror Actor: David Arquette (Winner)
Favorite Horror Actress: Neve Campbell (Winner)
Favorite Horror Actress: Courteney Cox (Nominated)
February 4, 2000
April 28, 2000
$92.6 Million (w/inflation)
$36.38 Million (w/inflation)
SCREAM 3 CLOSE-UP
Although Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) met his maker in Scream 2, this popular character reappeared in Scream 3 as a "sequel expert" in a Scary Movie 101 video.
BEHIND THE SCREAMS
Sidney Prescott's Woodsboro home in the original Scream was duplicated in precise detail as a "Stab 3" movie set at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, California.
R.I.P. CAST MEMBERS