Marlon Wayans marked this month’s 20th anniversary of “Scary Movie” with a new Variety interview in which he touches upon the”evil” nature of Harvey and Bob Weinstein. The spoof comedy was produced and distributed by Dimension Films, the genre arm of the Weinstein brothers’ Miramax Films, and it was a huge win for the studio after it grossed more than $157 million domestically on a $19 million budget. Marlon Wayans co-wrote the script and starred in the film with his brother, Shawn. The duo’s older brother, Keenon Ivory Wayans, handled directing duties.
The success of “Scary Movie” launched a lucrative franchise for the Weinstein-owned Dimension that included four sequels and nearly $1 billion in grosses at the worldwide box office. All three Wayans brothers would return for the 2001 sequel “Scary Movie 2,” another financial success with $141 million on a $45 million budget, but they were shut out of their own franchise starting with “Scary Movie 3.” Wayans revealed the decision came down abruptly and he was fired by the Weinsteins behind his back.
“We read on Christmas Eve that they were going with someone else for [‘Scary Movie 3’],” Marlon said. “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. They definitely still owe us money, lots of money. What they did was really bad business.”
“[The Weinsteins are] not the best or the kindest people to be in business with,” he added. “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. 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.’”
Bob Zenga was a producer on “Scary Movie” before the Wayans brothers got involved and struggled to shop the script around to studios. Zenga told Variety that every studio passed on “Scary Movie” except the Weinsteins, but he doesn’t believe Dimension picked up the spoof comedy because the Weinsteins actually thought it was a good script. As Zenga said, “The Weinsteins wanted to buy it because it spoofed their franchise of ‘Scream.’ I think they didn’t want somebody else cannibalizing their movie.”
Read Variety’s 20th anniversary oral history of “Scary Movie” here.