Scream 3 is a 2000 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Ehren Kruger. It stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Matt Keeslar, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Parker Posey, Deon Richmond, and Patrick Warburton. Released as the third installment in the Scream franchise, it was originally the concluding chapter of the series until the franchise was revived in 2011 with a sequel, Scream 4.
The film takes place three years after the previous film and follows Sidney Prescott (Campbell), who has gone into self-imposed isolation following the events of the previous two films but is drawn to Hollywood after a new Ghostface begins killing the cast of the film within a film Stab 3. Scream 3 combines the violence of the slasher genre with comedy and "whodunit" mystery, while satirizing the cliché of film trilogies. Unlike the previous Scream films, there was an increased emphasis on comedic elements in this installment; the violence and horror were reduced in response to increased public scrutiny about violence in media, following the Columbine High School massacre.
Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson provided a five-page outline for two sequels to Scream when auctioning his original script, hoping to entice bidders with the potential of buying a franchise. Williamson's commitments to other projects meant he was unable to develop a complete script for Scream 3, so writing duties were undertaken by Kruger, who discarded many of Williamson's notes. Craven and Marco Beltrami returned to direct and score the film, respectively. Production was troubled with script rewrites, occasions when pages were only ready on the day of filming, and scheduling difficulties with the main cast. Principal photography took place from July to September 1999, and the ending was re-filmed in January 2000.
Scream 3 premiered on February 3, 2000, in Westwood, Los Angeles, and was theatrically released the following day, grossing $162 million worldwide on a budget of $40 million. The film received mixed reviews, and is often cited as the weakest installment of the series.