Scream Trailer Gambles on Hollywood’s New Reboot-Sequel Strategy

“Hello, Sidney.” It’s the iconic line from the infamous Ghostface killer. The face behind the mask might change from Scream movie to Scream movie, but that raspy Roger L. Jackson vocal performance stays the same. After all these years, it’s even still menacing a woman who’s arguably the greatest “final girl” of all-time. Hence today’s new Scream trailer, which ends with Neve Campbell being threatened with the lofty claim that “it’s an honor.” As in, it’s an honor to be the latest slasher to take a stab at you, Sid after five movies in 25 years.

That level of deference and respect to Campbell’s beloved heroine is nice to see as a longtime fan of the franchise, and yet it is also odd in a movie titled simply “Scream.” On paper, the name of the movie would suggest this is a reboot—a fresh start for the series about a masked killer making deadly crank calls in the middle of the night. But in practice, 2022’s Scream looks a lot like all the Scream follow-ups before it: a sequel to the 1996 original where Sid, reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and bumbling cop Dewey (David Arquette) get dragged into another spate of copycat Ghostface killings.

That’s because studio Paramount Pictures and production company Spyglass Media Group are following the latest trend, which is to do a broad “legacy sequel” that in theory appeals to older fans while also marketing it as a reboot to the younger generations. The most successful variation on this formula to date was David Gordon Green and Blumhouse Production’s Halloween (2018). Amusingly, it is the third movie in the franchise titled simply “Halloween,” but unlike Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake, Green’s 2018 variation was a direct sequel to the 1978 original. It was also a follow-up which ignored all the other meandering and confusing franchise sequels, remakes, and resets—all while still acting as essentially the umpteenth attempt to do a “Halloween II.”

That risky strategy of trying to have your cake and eat it too paid off, with the 2018 legacy sequel making $256 million worldwide. Hence its sequel this weekend, Halloween Kills. When Den of Geek recently sat down with producer Jason Blum, he confirmed his production company and Green were also looking to do a similar reimagining to one of the greatest horror movies of all-time, The Exorcist (1973). The new film will also be a sequel, which may (or may not) fully dive into the checkered franchise history that followed the original masterpiece. However, Blum revealed some interesting considerations happening on the studio side of things these days.

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