"Scream 4" aims to put film franchise back on track

Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:09pm EDT
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By R.T. Watson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nearly six years ago, "Scream" horror director Wes Craven said he didn't think it wise to make a fourth movie in the blockbuster franchise because all the stories that could be told, had been.

But as the new "Scream 4" opens in theaters on Friday, Craven says that with all the key characters back -- including Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Neve Campbell in the lead role of hunted woman Sidney Prescott -- fans will be pleased.

"I think we all wanted to come back, (but) we needed to bring it back up to bar. 'Scream 3' was a little too goofy," Craven said.

The "Scream" movies became part of Hollywood lore when launched in 1996 with the tale of a maniac who wears a ghastly ghost mask while murdering teenagers in a small California community. The kids try to uncover the assailant by figuring out the "rules" that horror films follow in their plots.

Prescott's life was the ultimate goal of the killer, who is appropriately dubbed "Ghostface." Cox portrayed a TV reporter covering the crimes, and Arquette was a deputy policeman.

The first version earned good reviews and $173 million at global box offices. The next movie, 1997's "Scream 2," did just as well with fans and earned $172 million.

But three years later, "Scream 3" felt the wrath of moviegoers with its killings taking place on the set of a movie based on the fictional murders. While "Scream 3" claimed $162 million in worldwide ticket sales, some critics believed the franchise had lost its freshness.

A KILLER RETURNS   Continued...

<p>Cast members Courteney Cox (R) and Neve Campbell pose at the premiere of "Scream 4" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California April 11, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>