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Scream Franchise In 'Shambles'?! What's REALLY Going Wrong Behind The Scenes?!

Scream Franchise Problems Cast Melissa Barrera Fired Jenna Ortega Pay

The Scream franchise has really taken some hits in the past week. But whose fault is it really?!

The slasher series was reborn last year with a fresh cast and take. No one thought it could be done after Wes Craven‘s passing, but Scream (2022) really brought back Ghostface in a crowd-pleasing way that paid loving tribute to the originals. And it was a hit! Not only that, the followup Scream VI was an even bigger hit! So how is it the seventh installment is looking dead on arrival??

OK, by now we all know Melissa Barrera was fired for speaking out against the Israeli government’s use of force in Gaza. Her calls for a ceasefire — which referred to the destruction as “genocide” — were cited by Spyglass, who essentially implied she was guilty of “antisemitism.” It’s all so messy — and financially maybe even messier than anyone realized! In The Hollywood Reporter‘s new deep dive, sources told them Melissa had actually been let go behind the scenes A MONTH prior. If that’s true it means they fired her IMMEDIATELY — like after her very early calls for a ceasefire! Damn!

Related: Melissa Says Silence Was ‘Not An Option’ In Powerful Statement

These insiders also told the outlet Melissa had already finalized her deal. If her deal was pay-or-play, that could mean they had to pay her anyway — even after firing her! No word on that, but they could have really shot themselves in the foot financially in addition to the good will lost by firing their young star for, essentially, being vocally pro-peace.

If that’s true Spyglass boss Gary Barber probably isn’t happy. Per THR he’s known in the industry for being, well, cheap. Some think of it as “shrewd business sense” per the outlet, but if you’re costing yourself dollars by pinching pennies, that doesn’t seem so shrewd to us. Case in point…

THR‘s sources corroborate claims we heard last week that Jenna Ortega leaving the project had nothing to do with the “scheduling conflicts” everyone cited (pro tip: it’s almost never really scheduling conflicts) and everything to do with money.

According to them, after the enormous success of Wednesday, Jenna and her team decided she should be getting a bigger payday. And her deal for the return for Scream 7 was NOT finalized. She reportedly got paid six figures for both 5cream and Scream VI — and she wanted SEVEN figures to come back. HIGH seven figures. If THR is saying high, that’s gotta be at least 8 mil, maybe 9.

But Jenna’s a smart cookie. She assumed Spyglass wouldn’t step it up — and she was prepared to walk. Obviously she had good reason to assume she wouldn’t get what she was worth. Spyglass set the precedent by refusing to give Neve Campbell the raise she asked for, causing her to depart Scream VI. And that’s SIDNEY FREAKIN’ PRESCOTT! We can’t help but wonder if the big ask, demanding more than she knew they would pay, was Jenna’s way of following her movie sis off the project without looking unprofessional.

The thing is, though, getting paid was even less likely than Jenna thought! THR‘s sources say Barber took the lesson from the success of Scream VI that he was right to deny Neve her money. No Sidney? The movie still made bank! So he decided big stars and familiar faces didn’t matter at all, that it’s just the IP people care about! As one insider put it:

“He didn’t need Neve, he doesn’t need Jenna.”

Oof. It kiiiinda sounds like this guy wants to devolve the Scream franchise, which has always been — pun intended — a cut above other slashers, into the tried and true cash grab formula of the Friday the 13th movies! Just throw some no-name teens on the screen and have Ghostface do his thing! And we all know how well that worked for Halloween 4 through 6, right? If so, that’s really disappointing. Fan favorite characters returning has made this franchise more personal for viewers than most others.

The reason Scream VI was a bigger hit than Scream (2022)? It’s not because Sidney didn’t matter. It’s because the Carpenter sisters did matter. The “core four” did matter. They caught on with fans just like the original cast did and recaptured lightning in a bottle. And the studio head’s takeaway was that lightning is cheap and easy to get? Eek.

No wonder some insiders told THR the series is now in “shambles” and that things are “very raw” behind the scenes right now. They’re going to have to do a LOT to get fans back on board after treating their cast like this. What do YOU think, scary movie fans??

[Image via Paramount/YouTube.]

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Nov 30, 2023 06:51am PDT