Can you believe Scary Movie turns 20 years old this month??
Yep, the horror spoof which became a huge sleeper hit and spawned four sequels was released way back on July 7, 2000. To mark the milestone Variety compiled a bit of an oral history, setting up interviews with Marlon Wayans and others — and it isn’t exactly wistful.
On the first two films in the franchise, Marlon co-wrote (and co-starred) with brother Shawn Wayans, with their elder brother Keenan Ivory Wayans directing.
However, starting with Scary Movie 3 — despite the first two both being enormous financial successes — the family was forced out by the heads of the studio which owned the rights: Dimension Films, which was owned by The Weinstein Company.
Producer Bo Zenga, who had been attached to the film even before the Wayans brothers doesn’t even think the Weinsteins believed in the project — they just didn’t want anyone else to have it!
“The Weinsteins wanted to buy it because it spoofed their franchise of Scream. I think they didn’t want somebody else cannibalizing their movie.”
Marlon told Variety:
“ not the best or the kindest people to be in business with. They’re very much an evil regime, I guess. They do what they want to do how they do it — and it can be rude and quite disrespectful.”
And that’s not even mentioning Harvey Weinstein‘s rape conviction and the reported coverup allegedly aided by his brother Bob Weinstein.
But as Marlon tells it, even in business the brothers were monstrous:
“We couldn’t come to terms on the deal. It’s like, ‘If you don’t want to pay for the jokes, have somebody else do it.’”
That they did. The Weinsteins replaced the Wayans brothers with Airplane! co-creator Jerry Zucker and the respective writers of Hot Shots and Senseless — you know, that comedy starring up-and-comer Marlon Wayans.
The now-47-year-old recalls learning about his family’s firing in a very impersonal way:
“We read on Christmas Eve that they were going with someone else for . We probably could have sued or whatever, but part of us was like, ‘All you can do is allow us to create something new.’ I could write a book on that whole thing, honestly.”
The Wayans brothers went on to tackle horror spoofs again over a decade later with the A Haunted House films.
He did add:
“They definitely still owe us money, lots of money. What they did was really bad business.”
That’s pretty much what they’re known for these days…
What do YOU think of the Scary Movie sequels after the Wayans brothers’ exit??
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