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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the first scream movie to not feature a character named "Steven". The first _Scream (1996/1)_ 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 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).
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.
In the scene where Jenny (Aimee Teegarden) explains to Marnie (Britt Robertson) the story about the Stab movies, she says "Stab 5 has time travel, which is by far the worst". Wes Craven had the idea of time travel in dreams for "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4" but the studio rejected it.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Lauren Graham was originally cast as Jill Kessler's 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 trivia items below may give away important plot points.
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.
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 Hoss is in the film, and the man actually took himself to the hospital.
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 Weinstien', who thought the time jump disrupted the flow of the film.