Wes Craven: What Is the ‘Scream’ Director’s Net Worth and How Did He Die?

Horror movie writer and director Wes Craven terrified millions during his lifetime. Sadly the movie business lost one of the most influential creators when Craven died in 2015. Find out how much the Nightmare on Elm Street director was worth at the time of his death. 

Writer and director Wes Craven, who had a substantial net worth at the time of his death
Wes Craven | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Wes Craven brought us movies like ‘The Last House on the Left’ 

Craven was a master of the horror movie genre. Born in 1939, Craven earned his Bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Illinois. He went on to earn a Master’s in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. He taught as a professor in Pennsylvania and New York for a short time before breaking into the entertainment business. 

Craven’s first feature was the 1972 film The Last House on the Left, which he wrote, directed, and edited. The rape-revenge movie caused a stir among many viewers but generated a significant amount at the big box office. Later, Craven brought horror fans The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Summer of Fear (1978) starring Linda Blair, and Swamp Thing (1982). 

In 1984, Craven changed the horror movie game entirely. And so began the director’s imprint on the industry as a whole.

Wes Craven made a lasting influence on horror with ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Scream’

Craven is credited with reinventing the youth sub-genre of horror thanks to his 1984 movie A Nightmare on Elm Street. The director brought young stars like Johnny Depp into the limelight while simultaneously injecting a horrifying new villain, Freddy Kreuger, into horror culture. 

Later, in 1996, Craven once again changed the name of the horror movie game. His teen slasher Scream flipped every horror movie trope on its head and poked fun at them in the most meta of ways. Plus, Craven even made a dig at the Nightmare on Elm Street movies he didn’t work on. 

Craven wrote and directed the first of the Freddy movies. In 1994, he worked on another installment, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. But during the iconic opening sequence of Scream when Casey (Drew Barrymore) says, “the first one was good, but the rest sucked,” Craven was making a dig at the Freddy movies he had nothing to do with — one of several Easter eggs in Scream.

‘Scream 4’ was Wes Craven’s last movie 

The 2011 installment in the Scream franchise was Craven’s final film. Most of the original cast, including Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox returned for the movie, which takes place 15 years after the original Scream

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Many horror fans are anxiously awaiting the release of Scream 5, which is slated for January 2022. The cast and crew have worked tirelessly to honor Craven’s memory in the next installment. 

Wes Craven’s death in 2015

Craven died on Aug. 30, 2015, in his Los Angeles home. He was 76-years-old. The horror maestro had been battling brain cancer.

Craven is survived by his wife, producer, and former Disney Studios vice president Iya Labunka. Craven is also survived by his son Jonathan and daughter Jessica.

Wes Craven’s net worth 

Thanks to a lengthy career in the horror movie business, Craven had a substantial amount of money. At the time of his 2015 death, Craven’s net worth was estimated at $40 million