As seen in the gag reel, there was an ongoing prank on set where somebody dressed in the Ghostface mask would jump out and scare an actor at a time when Ghostface wasn't scripted to appear. For example, an actor would open a door expecting nobody to be behind it, and instead somebody in the mask would jump out. On at least one instance, this prank was pulled on an actress during a scene where she was scripted to be chased by a killer, rounded a corner and met an unscripted appearance by Ghostface.
Neve Campbell and Emma Roberts, two of the lead actresses in the film, both admitted to being terrified of horror films. Emma Roberts stated she was hid under the covers while watching the first 3 'Scream' films. Also, Neve Campbell stated a while back that she can't watch the films, because she doesn't like being scared.
Deputy Perkins' first name is Anthony, making his name Anthony Perkins, the same name as the actor who played Norman Bates in Psycho (1960). In Psycho (1960), Norman Bates's line "We All go a little mad sometimes" is repeated by Billy (Skeet Ulrich) in the original Scream
Just as she does in her real life marriage to David Arquette, who plays Sheriff Dewey Riley, Courteney Cox's character, Gale Weathers, now has a hyphenated name. She is now billed as "Gale Weathers-Riley" since, at the conclusion of Scream 3 (2000), Dewey proposed to Gale and they are now married in this film.
In this film, Deputy Hoss, played by Adam Brody, laments that it "sucks to be a cop in a movie unless you're Bruce Willis". One year prior to the release of this film, Brody co-starred (as a cop, ironically) alongside Willis in Cop Out (2010).
Kevin Williamson, the writer of this film, has expressed a subtle annoyance towards the release of the film. During production, producers Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein brought in Ehren Kruger (the writer of Scream 3 (2000)) to polish up the script. Wes Craven later stated that the main ideas, story and concept of the movie were written by Williamson, with minor changes made by Kruger.
Stars Courteney Cox and David Arquette, who were married in 1999 after meeting during the making of Scream (1996), had filed for separation in October of 2010. Although there was slight tension on the set, they were said to have remained professional and respectful of each other. They later divorced in May of 2012.
Despite being the most recognizable face of the "Scream" franchise, this is the only installment where Ghostface has appeared on any of the North American posters or home media release covers (the character has previously appeared on international posters for the series).
Although the "Scream" series was intended to be a trilogy, a fourth movie was rumored on and off several times since the release of the third installment. The movie was officially announced in July of 2008 by The Weinsteins/Dimension in a press release and was released in theaters in 2011; eleven years after Scream 3 (2000).
Scream 4 is the first film in the franchise not to be edited by 'Patrick Lussier', Wes Craven's long time editor. Since the third movie, Lussier has gone on to a directing career of his own that includes the remake of My Bloody Valentine (2009) which is one of the many horror film remakes mentioned in Scream 4.
In the scene where Rory Culkin's character is tied to the chair, all bloody and Hayden Panettiere is behind the glass door looking at him, on the phone to Ghostface answering scary movie questions to save his life - this entire sequence mirrors the opening sequence from the first Scream film. The first film has Drew Barrymore's character looking onto Kevin Patrick Walls' character, attempting to answer scary movie questions to save his life.
In May of 2010, Cathy Konrad, the producer of all three previous movies in the Scream series, filed a lawsuit against the Weinstein Company stating her production company had a first-rights deal with the Weinstein Company to produce all films in the Scream series. The lawsuit was eventually dropped.
While scouting for a bookstore to use in the film, Wes Craven spotted a new bookstore that had not yet opened in downtown Northville, Michigan named Next Chapter Bookstore Bistro. Craven instantly loved the building as well as the name and decided to use both in the film. He also hired the owner's chef to prepare the food and pastry for a scene in the film.
Lauren Graham was originally cast as Jill Roberts' mother. She made the announcement herself on The Jay Leno Show. Two weeks later, she dropped out due to "script re-writes" and was soon replaced by Mary McDonnell.
The film suffered two casting changes in quick succession as shooting had begun. Lake Bell had originally been cast as Judy Hicks but was forced to drop out (which she announced via her Twitter account on June 24th 2010) due to "scheduling conflicts." She was replaced by Marley Shelton. Six days later, Lauren Graham, who was originally cast as Kate Roberts, dropped out also citing "scheduling conflicts" as well as "script changes." She was replaced by Mary McDonnell.
After a test screening, Wes Craven and Bob Weinstein did not think two scenes played well for the audience. Aimee Teegarden and Alison Brie returned to Detroit for four days of additional shooting. The scenes involved Teegarden's character who is stalked at her home and Brie's character who is attacked in a parking garage.
Among the novels on the shelf as Gale enters the book store, one of the more prominently seen is Eragon, the first of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. A series that, like Scream, was originally intended as a trilogy, only to be expanded in to a four part series, the latest of which was released in November 2011, the same year as this movie.
This is the first scream movie to not feature a character named "Steven". The first Scream (1996) had Steven Orth played by Kevin Patrick Walls, killed in the first scene. Scream 2 (1997) had Phil Stevens played by Omar Epps, also killed in the first scene. And Scream 3 (2000) had Steve Stone played by Patrick Warburton, killed when Ghostface used a voice synthesizer to disguise himself as Dewey.
In traditional Scream fashion there are many scenes when the characters lives reflect/mock that of the actors real life. Notably, in the scene where Rebecca "geeks out" with Gale on the street she enthuses "you were my '90s" a reference to 'Courtney Cox''s participation in Friends (1994). When asked "how long have you and Dewey been married" Gale replies "ten years". Cox had been married to David Arquette for ten years prior to filming.
Since Emma Roberts was the shortest cast member of the group of teens (standing at 5 feet 2 inches), she had to wear high heeled boots that gave her 3 extra inches to stand as tall as everyone else (the boots can actually be seen near the end of the film). She also had to wear hair extensions since her hair was relatively short before production of the film.
In the deleted scenes, Dewey explains to Gale that character Neil Prescott (Sidney's father) has passed away since appearing in Scream 3 and this is the first time Sidney has returned to Woodsboro since his death.
When Kirby and Charlie are discussing trivia during the "after party," Kirby makes a joke that she has powers. Hayden Panettiere starred in Heroes (2006) as Claire Bennett, who had the ability to regenerate.
During Kirby's phone call when Charlie is tied to a chair, one of the remakes mentioned are: Piranha (2010). Scream 2's Jerry O' Connell, who played Derek, plays in this movie. And ironically, his name is Derrick, and has an opposite personality of the character.
Rory Culkin (Charlie) and Emma Roberts (Jill) previously appeared together in Twelve (2010), directed by Joel Schumacher. Nico Tortorella (Trevor) appeared in Trespass (2011), also directed by Schumacher.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The outfit that Trevor wears in the final act of the movie is the same outfit that Neil Prescott is wearing in the final act of the original. Trevor is also bound and gagged identically to Neil Prescott.
Despite the unrealistic way Deputy Perkins walks around after being stabbed in the head, this is actually medically accurate. Wes Craven was watching a television special about a man who was stabbed in the head just the way Perkins is in the film, and the man actually took himself to the hospital.
Many fans of Scream (1996) have pointed out that although Tatum (Rose McGowan)'s death was a great set piece, garage door motors are not strong enough to lift a person off the ground, and have safety mechanisms in place to make her murder impossible. The opening sequence of Scream 4 however has a garage door close on a victim, then rise again once the safety sensors are tripped. This is more akin to what would actually happen if one were to try to crush someone in a motorized garage door.
Unlike nearly every other character in the franchise, the fate of Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) was never confirmed. According to Wes Craven the shooting script included a scene near the end where Kirby is revealed to have survived, but the scene was cut during production. Later on the DVD commentary Craven stated, "As you can see, Hayden was still moving... not saying she's coming back for sure."
According to Wes Craven on the director's commentary, the original opening would have taken place at a party celebrating Sidney's completion of her book, during which Ghostface would have attacked and Sidney would've been badly stabbed. The rest of the film would have then taken place three years later. However, this opening was vetoed by Bob Weinstein, who thought the time jump disrupted the flow of the film.
In all the films with two killers, there is always one killer with an actual motive against Sidney (Billy, Mrs. Loomis, Roman and Jill) and the other who just wants to kill for the thrill (Stu, Mickey, Charlie).
In every one of the Scream movie a person who is from Woodsborro gets killed. In Scream 1 and this film most of the victims lived there. Also in Scream 2 Randy Meeks was from Woodsborro and in Scream 3 Cotton Weary was from there.