When 2000's Scary Movie was released, no one could've predicted the massive success that was to follow for the horror parody movie.
After all, parody cinema's heyday had long passed since the days of Airplane!, Hot Shots!, and Loaded Weapon. Going from a mockbuster to a blockbuster, the movie pulled in a whopping $278 million at the global box office from a budget of $19 million.
Talking about the movie's success to Entertainment Weekly, star and co-writer Shawn Wayans said, "It was the right movie at the right time done by the right people. [Laughs] That's really what I feel like it was… And you never know, another one can happen. There's always room."
We're not so sure that world is demanding another Scary Movie, though. While it spawned four sequels, none of the entries managed to match the financial success or audience appeal of the first one.
It was all about the laughs on the screen, but there were many things that happened behind the scenes. In fact, the story of the Scary Movie franchise might even be more interesting than the actual movies themselves.
With that said, let's take a look at the 20 Crazy Secrets Behind The Scary Movie Franchise.
20 The Studio Didn't Want Carmen Electra
According to Scary Movie director, Keenen Ivory Wayans, the studio wasn't interested in having Carmen Electra join the cast.
"Miramax just didn't want to cast her," he told Entertainment Weekly. "They didn't think she could do it. They thought she was cheesy, because – and this is no disrespect to Carmen – she was one of the first celebrities to be known more for who they were than for what they'd done, you know? But what they didn't like about Carmen was what made her perfect, and that's what I kept trying to explain."
The studio eventually caved and Electra filmed her now-iconic scene.
Look, she might not be an Oscar-winning actress or anything, but it's Scary Movie for Zeus' sake. If Miramax was hoping for Meryl Streep, it should've lowered its expectations from the get-go.
19 There Was Never Meant To Be A Sequel
Lampooning horror movies' never-ending lust for sequels, one of the key taglines of Scary Movie was "No mercy. No shame. No sequel." Naturally, everyone laughed at how it poked fun at the horror genre's obsession with sequelitis and expected this parody to be a once-off affair.
Oh, how wrong we all were. As soon as the movie made $278 million from a meager $19 million, the studio saw dollar signs and wanted a franchise.
Gone were the taglines of the original, as money spoke louder than any promises made before.
In retrospect, it probably should've been a one-and-done deal since none of the other movies hit the heights of the first one. However, you try to tell a studio that creative integrity should come before financial success and blatant money-grabs.
18 Tori Spelling's Claims About Her Role
As the daughter of famed TV producer Aaron Spelling, you'd imagine that Tori Spelling would have the world at her feet and people knocking down her door to offer her parts.
Unfortunately, her only acclaimed role to date is that of Donna Martin in Beverly Hills, 90210, which was produced by her father.
After appearing in Scream 2, Spelling was cast in Scary Movie 2. The potential for gags was endless-- however, Spelling's role as Alex Monday ended up being quite minor.
According to Spelling, this had to do with her refusal to do an adult scene. She claims that Dimension cut her out of more than half the movie after that.
It sounds extreme, but after everything we've heard about the Weinstein scandal in Hollywood, it's not all that surprising.
17 Marlon Wayans Claims Scary Movie 3's Idea Was Stolen
There was no love lost between the Wayans and Dimension Films after Scary Movie 2.
The filmmakers were a tad bitter that their project had been rushed, while the studio expected the same amount of money that the original movie made.
"We read in the trades one day they were doing Scary Movie 3 with somebody else. We were like, 'Wow, that's interesting.'," Marlon Wayans told the Chicago Tribune.
"We had an idea to pitch to them for Scary Movie 3, and they basically stole our idea," said Wayans.
"They came to us to do Scary Movie 5, and we said no. We had our time and did what we could with the franchise," he stated.
Yikes. Seems like there's still some tension there between the Wayans and the studio.
16 Anna Faris Got Her Role Without An Agent
Say what you want about Scary Movie, but Anna Faris laughed all the way to the bank. This movie franchise made her a bona-fide superstar and got her into the Hollywood big leagues.
As Keenen Ivory Wayans revealed, the hardest character to cast was the lead, Cindy Campbell.
Chatting to Entertainment Weekly, he said, "I remember the casting person saying, 'I read a girl that I think is right, but she's never done anything before.' And I was like, [sighs] 'Yeah, okay.'"
Then, Faris knocked everyone's socks off, which was more remarkable considering that she didn't even have representation at the time.
"I don't think I even had a headshot. I didn't have an agent," Faris said.
So, there you go. It's proof that anything can happen in Tinseltown.
15 Scary Movie Was Bought Before The Script Was Complete
Shawn Wayans said that the inspiration for Scary Movie came from all the slasher movies that he and the co-writers found to be ridiculous.
Once he pitched the idea of a parody to them, they started work on the script.
Nonetheless, it was still difficult to write.
Well, their pitching game must've been right on point, though, as Miramax's Dimension Films bought the rights before the script was even completed. To top it off, Dimension was also responsible for Scream, one of the main movies spoofed in Scary Movie.
Executive producer Bob Weinstein told Entertainment Weekly, "When I thought about it, I said, 'Who better to spoof [the Scream franchise] than us?' [Laughs] Scream still stood on its own, because Scream was great. We had the guts to do it, I'll put it that way."
14 Marlon Wayans Didn't Think Scary Movie 2 Was Good
Much like the rest of the world, Marlon Wayans didn't think Scary Movie 2 was as good as the first one. As one of the architects of the franchise, it's refreshing to hear him admit that he thinks the movie failed to match the original and the reasons for it.
Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, he stated, "What my brothers and I did was take a $19 million movie and we made it into a half-a-billion-dollar franchise. We got rushed to do a sequel.
"It still performed, but not the way we wanted it to," Wayans said.
He continued: "It wasn't as good as the first one. It was all right. It wasn't using its jab or hook. It was just right hand, right hand, right hand. It was a little more desperate."
13 Jared Leto Turned Down The Role Of Bobby Loomis
Long before he was the Joker and an Oscar-winning actor, Jared Leto starred in the 1998 slasher film Urban Legend. It was totally cheesy, but still mindless fun and featured the who's who of young actors at the time, including Michael Rosenbaum, Tara Reid, and Rebecca Gayheart.
With his slasher experience, it should come as no surprise that he was offered the role of Cindy Campbell's boyfriend, Bobby Loomis, in the first Scary Movie.
Leto, though, declined the role to work on Darren Aronfsky's Requiem for a Dream.
Frankly, it seems like he made the wise choice here, and we really can't imagine Leto in a comedic role, either.
The part of Bobby ended up going to Jon Abrahams, who was no slouch in the movie.
12 Scary Movie's Connection To Scream
It's obvious that Scary Movie took aim at Scream-- but hey, who wouldn't? When it was released back in 1996, it almost singlehandedly revived the slasher genre and made horror cool again. It's only natural that it would be the most spoofed in a horror parody movie, right?
Scary Movie didn't just poke fun at Scream and its story beats, though, as it also claimed the working title as its own.
Yep, the working title for Scream was actually Scary Movie, believe it or not.
Considering tht the late Wes Craven's renowned good humor, we're not surprised that this was his working title. Can you imagine if the movie had been released under this name?
Well, it certainly wouldn't require a synopsis since the title would say it all.
11 There Was Supposed To Be A Hunger Games Spoof
By the time that Scary Movie 5 rolled out, everything was fair game. The parody franchise didn't just pick on the horror genre anymore, but also other popular movies of the time as well.
In an interview with producer and co-writer David Zucker, it was revealed that another hit movie franchise was meant to have been spoofed.
"There's no harder movie to do than a Scary Movie. You have to weave so many movies together and the plot has to still make sense. That's the trick," he explained to Coming Soon.
"We cut out some things. It was a bridge too far. The studio wanted us to do Hunger Games. We did our best. I think, more than anything, it tore the plot apart. It was too much of a side trip. No matter how silly, goofy, zany, stupid, whatever you can say about these movies, people still need a cohesive plot."
10 David Zucker Was Offered Scary Movie 3 Because Of Another Movie
It wasn't Zucker's work on Airplane! and The Naked Gun franchise that secured him the Scary Movie 3 job. It was another terrible film, starring Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid, which got him the gig.
Speaking about it to Yahoo!, Zucker said, "I had done a movie for Bob Weinstein and Dimension called My Boss' Daughter. That didn't do well but Bob and I got along great so when he was unable to make a deal with the Wayans brothers for Scary Movie 3, Bob called me and said, 'Zucker, you're a better director than your material,' in regards to [My Boss' Daughter].
"He said we have a script, we want to do Signs of the Ring, and I had never heard of [it] but I said I'll take a look at it. The script was horrible so I wrote my own and that's how it got started."
9 Scary Movie 5's Script Was Rewritten Countless Times
The Scary Movie franchise prided itself in being fresh with its spoofs. As a result, it needed to make sure its references were of movies that were still in theaters, which meant that the story and gags needed to change as filming took place.
Actor Simon Rex, who portrayed Dan Sanders in Scary Movie 5, revealed to ScreenPicks, "The script was always changing; even while we were shooting it was being rewritten."
"So when the decision was made to include Mama and Evil Dead in the parodies, it was great that we got to shoot that stuff. We basically just spoofed the trailer of Evil Dead, since that's all we had seen," he said.
Eh, just from a trailer, you say? No wonder the movie turned out the way it did…
8 Ashley Tisdale Got Her Role Because Of Zucker's Daughter
It was surprising to see former Disney star Ashley Tisdale in Scary Movie 5. Not because she's a dreadful actress, but rather because you would've expected a more serious role after her appearance in Sons of Anarchy a year earlier.
Chatting to ScreenPicks about how he chose Tisdale for the role of Jody, Zucker said, "We didn't have anyone in mind, and had been reading actresses for the part. I was relaxing at home with my daughter, Sarah, who was 10 at the time, while watching one of the High School Musical movies."
"She said, 'How about Ashley in your movie, Daddy?' and I thought that she looked right about the age Anna Faris was when she started out," he stated.
We hope that Tisdale sent Sarah a thank-you letter for the assist.
7 Marlon Brando Was Cast In Scary Movie 2
The legendary Marlon Brando reportedly negotiated a $2 million salary to make a cameo in Scary Movie 2, in the opening scene that was a spoof of The Exorcist.
At the time, Brando was in his twilight years and struggled to remember his lines, so he required an ear piece to hear his lines being read by his assistant in another room.
Brando did record footage, but it was never used in the final cut. The reason for this is because he was ill and suffering from pneumonia.
As Shawn Wayans told New York Post, "He wanted to go for it. He had an oxygen mask and we were like, 'Yo, we gotta let him go. This guy is not healthy.'"
Brando was then replaced by James Woods.
6 Alicia Silverstone Turned Down The Role Of Cindy Campbell
Clueless put Alicia Silverstone on the map, while Batman & Robin erased her star power in a heartbeat. However, this didn't stop the Wayans from wanting her to star as Cindy Campbell in Scary Movie.
Silverstone, though, declined the part.
Around 2000, she was working on Love's Labour's Lost, a reimagining of Shakespeare's comic play, with Kenneth Branagh directing and starring in the movie.
After the critical drubbing and the destruction of the Batman franchise, Silverstone probably thought it best to stay away from controversial projects. That, or she was upset there were no Bat-plates in Scary Movie.
Nonetheless, Love's Labour's Lost didn't perform well with the critics or box office, and actually resulted in Branagh's three-picture deal with Miramax being canned. Scary Movie, on the other hand, put Anna Faris on Hollywood's radar.
5 Simon Rex's Accident
You'd imagine working on a movie like Mission: Impossible to have potential threats for injury. Heck, even Tom Cruise broke his ankle on the latest movie, but Scary Movie? Did someone inhale a flatulent joke by accident?
Well, according to Rex, he suffered an injury that could've been much worse than what it was.
In an interview with ScreenPicks, Rex said, "I only came away with a couple bruises, believe it or not. There was almost a really bad accident, actually. You don't see it in the movie because they had to edit around it."
"They're taking me out of the ambulance and I collapse, and my head grazes the side of the ambulance at a very high speed, from very high up. We almost had a real situation on our hands. Ashley [Tisdale] was there, she can confirm," he said.
4 Scary Movie 4 Was Meant To Be A Superhero Parody
Scary Movie wasn't always the most linear or cohesive franchise, despite the directors and writers' insistence that there was always clear thought involved. After the second one, it went off the rails and never found its way back to its original path.
By the time that Scary Movie 4 was being considered, everyone knew that the series was losing steam so they wanted to freshen it up.
The solution? To spoof superhero movies, because, um, superhero movies are supposedly scary and Hollywood execs totally know what they're doing in those big boardrooms of theirs.
Fortunately, someone applied common sense and suggested a spin-off instead, which became 2008's Superhero Movie. The studio planned another spin-off titled Sci-Fi Movie, but it was dropped and not one single tear was shed.
3 Carmen Electra Auditioned For The Part Of Buffy Gilmore
As we've stated already, Miramax wasn't too keen on Electra's involvement in Scary Movie. It took a lot of convincing on the director's part to get her the role.
However, that wasn't the original role that Electra auditioned for.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Electra revealed that she had auditioned for another role first.
"I actually auditioned for two parts – I want to say the Shannon Elizabeth role (Buffy Gilmore) and, oh gosh, I can't remember. I just thought, 'Oh my God, this is a great script, this is gonna be really funny,' and I really wanted the job, I wanted that job really bad, but I didn't get it," she said.
Not long afterwards, the call came in and Electra jumped on a plane.
2 Dimension Bought Two Scripts For Scary Movie
Hollywood is the land of lawsuits. As soon as a movie pops up, there's always someone claiming that their idea was pinched by a greedy studio. In some cases, however, it's plausible that several people had similar ideas.
Screenwriters Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg had an idea for Scream if I Know What You Did Last Halloween. At the same time, the Wayans, along with Buddy Johnson and Phil Beauman, were working on the script that would become Scary Movie.
Realizing the potential of a future lawsuit, Dimension bought both projects and handed the Seltzer/Friedberg script to the Wayans.
Bob Weinstein said to Entertainment Weekly, "Both scripts had funny points, but we favored the Wayans script a little more."
After a Writers Guild arbitration, Seltzer and Friedberg also received writing credit on the movie.
1 Scary Movie's Original Title Was Crazy
Back in 1996, the Wayans named their movie Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (or Don't Be a Menace for short). What we didn't know back then was that it showed their desire for long, ludicrous movie titles.
So, in an attempt to showcase a title that was befitting of their wacky idea, the original working title for Scary Movie was Last Summer I Screamed Because Friday the 13th Fell on Halloween.
Another name considered was Scream if I Know What You Did Last Halloween from the parallel script written by Seltzer and Friedberg.
None of it makes any sense for multiple reasons, but hey, that's never stopped the Wayans before. At least someone thought Scary Movie might be less of a mouthful.
Do you know any other interesting facts about the Scary Movie franchise? Let us know in the comments section!