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Scream 5's Title Change Is A Confusing Legacy Sequel Mistake

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Scream 5 has officially wrapped filming, and to celebrate, the upcoming sequel received a title change, which is confusing fans of the iconic horror franchise. The new installment is simply called Scream, the same title as the 1996 original movie, which was directed by Wes Craven. Kevin Williamson, who wrote the original in addition to Scream 2 and Scream 4, shared the news of the title change seeing as he's an executive producer on the fifth film. The title news is turning heads, but not for a positive reason. Instead, it's following a mistake commonly committed by legacy horror sequels.

Craven was originally signed on to direct a new Scream trilogy, which was set to begin with Scream 4 in 2011. The movie performed under expectations, but there was still interest in expanding the franchise. Those plans, however, were halted when Craven sadly passed away in 2015. Four years later, the gears started moving again when Spyglass Media Group acquired the rights to the franchise. In early 2020, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Ready or Not) signed on to direct Scream 5, and it was confirmed that the installment will once again blend a mix of original and new characters. While Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette are set to reprise their roles as Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers, and Dewey Riley, respectively, the rest of the cast will feature names like Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Dylan Minnette, and Mason Gooding.

Scream 5 will presumably focus on Sidney returning to her hometown of Woodsboro as more murders by a new Ghostface killer begin to occur. Rather than follow the pattern of using numbered titles for sequels like the predecessors, the studio decided to go a different route by using Scream. It's simple, but also lacks creativity according to early reception from horror fans. More than anything, the franchise missed the opportunity to use something like SCREAM5 (Screams), a stylized way to sub in the number in place of the "S." Scream 4 used that method since it was stylized as SCRE4M in promotional materials. On the other hand, Williamson hinted at the reasoning behind the head-scratching title decision, and it touches on the current trend of horror reboots.

Why Horror Sequels Keep Reusing Titles

Scream isn't the first long-running horror franchise to reuse its original title. First, there was Friday the 13th in 2009 and A Nightmare on Elm Street the following year. Both of these modern installments used the title from the debut franchise film, but in both of those cases, the movies were viewed as remakes. That slightly gives the studio a pass, since they weren't viewed as true legacy sequels. Halloween, on the other hand, went with the 1978 title despite serving as the movie's direct sequel. While the franchise featuring Michael Myers is known for some long-winded sequel titles, the studio didn't attempt to set itself apart from the film that launched it all. Scream is following suit, featuring a blended story while sticking to the prime continuity. Since the most recent Halloween installment and upcoming Scream movie are considered legacy sequels, the title decisions are even more baffling at first glance.

The title is most likely a tribute to Craven's influence in building the franchise, particularly with his work directing Scream in 1996. With him gone, this could be the cast and crew's way to honor the driving force behind Scream's long-term existence. It may also symbolize a full-circle arc for the likes of Sidney, Gale, and Dewey if the new Scream serves as the trio's final franchise appearance. With all that said, it's still a tad confusing for fans, who will most likely continue to call it Scream 5 as a way to differentiate the movie from the original when discussing the franchise.

Scream 5 (2022)
Release Date: Jan 14, 2022
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