‘Scream’ Movies: What Was The Budget For Each Film in the 25-Year Franchise?

The Scream movie franchise started off with a relatively low budget in 1996. But as the franchise progressed to four powerful sequels with famous casts, the cost of the horror movies has steadily increased. We’re taking a look at the prices of each of the horror movies in the now-classic slasher franchise. 

The original ‘Scream’ movie budget was under $20 million

Parker Posey, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette in the third Scream movie
Parker Posey, Courteney Cox and David Arquette | Joseph Viles Dimension Films

According to Wikipedia, the iconic 1996 Scream movie cost between $14 and $15 million to produce. It’s difficult to tell exactly what the breakdown for a movie like this is. However, we’re betting plenty of it went to director Wes Craven and the up-and-coming talent. 

Neve Campbell, Matthew Lillard, and Skeet Ulrich starred. Additionally, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore, and Rose McGowan appeared in the horror movie. 

At the time, Skeet Ulrich said he didn’t have a measure of the movie’s success — other than the fact that it kept raking in money

“I really had no idea, except for the fact that it just kept continuing to make money,” Ulrich told Variety in a Scream 25th-anniversary interview.  “That was when we kind of had an inkling this thing was very successful. For a long stretch of time, I didn’t think about it much at all. Then I started doing horror conventions six or seven years ago and was introduced to this subculture that’s still rabid about it and passed it down generation to generation.”

The cost of production was paltry compared to the movie’s lifetime returns. A report by Variety has the worldwide gross at somewhere around $173 million. 

Figures like those make a sequel easy to justify. Producers quickly greenlit a sequel for 1997, and Scream 2 was born. 

The budget for ‘Scream 2’ was significantly higher than the original 

The second movie in the franchise packed even more star power. In addition to Craven as director and Campbell, Arquette, and Cox in starring roles, the cast evolved.  

Jada Pinkett Smith, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jerry O’Connell, and Liev Schreiber also appeared in the film. At the cost of $24 million, the movie was significantly more expensive than its predecessor. However, given the popularity of the first movie, it made sense. 

Moreover, it paid off — but not quite as handsomely as Scream. When it was all said and done, Scream 2 made about 172.4 million over its lifetime, according to the horror movie’s Wikipedia page. 

‘Scream 3’ was less profitable than its predecessors

The third Scream movie, Scream 3, finally rolled around another three years later. The 2000 movie also got Wes Craven as director. Arquette, Cox, and Campbell again returned, but the others were replaced by newcomers, including Jenny McCarthy, Parker Posey, and Patrick Dempsey. 

Though the budget for Scream 3 shot through the roof at $40 million, Wikipedia states that it’s the second-least profitable movie in the series. It only grossed $161.8 million over its lifespan. 

Meanwhile, the fourth Scream movie, Scream 4 was out on the horizon. Way out. When it finally rolled around 11 years after Scream 2, it similarly had a budget of $40 million in 2011. But at a total gross of ​​$97.2 million, the movie proved to be a box office disappointment. 

Nonetheless, Scream movie fans are devout, and another sequel is happening. While the 2022 Scream (also known as Scream 5) doesn’t yet have reliable budget information, it’s already causing buzz. 

Once again, mainstays Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, and David Arquette will reprise their respective roles. And that’s Scream-worthy indeed. 

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