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The Legendary Pop Star You Didn't Know Inspired The Title For Scream

It's hard to imagine your favorite movies being called anything else than the title you know. As much as we've come to know and love certain titles, some of them once held entirely different names. "Back To The Future" was almost titled "Spaceman from Pluto," "Pulp Fiction's" working title was "Black Mask," and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was tentatively titled "Head Cheese." Seriously.

One of the most popular horror films ever, Wes Craven's "Scream," was almost known by another name. Today, when you think "Scary Movie," you are likely to conjure up a scene of Marlon Wayans and his friends saying "Wazzup!" to a stoned version of Ghostface, or a scantily clad Carmen Electra posing while running from a killer. "Scary Movie" is synonymous with the horror parody genre, but it was almost the title for the first "Scream" movie.

The title soon changed because of a popular Michael Jackson song.

Michael Jackson's song inspired Scream's name change

"Scary Movie" might have seemed like the perfect movie title for "Scream," because it plays perfectly into the meta elements of the films. Writer Kevin Williamson's intent was to make a horror film in which the characters are all aware of the genre's tropes, blending humor and horror. However, once Miramax took over the film's distribution rights, the studio's heads, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, had a different title in mind.

Bob Weinstein told Vanity Fair, "I didn't want it to be a parody." Bob said to Williamson, "Kevin, I want to make sure I bought the script that I think I bought. Is it a funny movie with scares? Or is it a scary movie with humor?" Williamson confirmed it was the latter. "Good, that is the way I saw it. But you got the wrong title," Bob said.

At the time, Michael and Janet Jackson's song "Scream," was an international and certified platinum hit. Harvey Weinstein heard the song and had an idea. According to Bob Weinstein on "Scream: The Inside Story" from the Biography channel, "Michael Jackson had a song out and Harvey's listening to it and of course the song was 'Scream.'" Bob called up his team and said, "Guys we got the title: 'Scream.'"

Film executive Richard Potter said, "When you see the 'Scream' movies now, that they ever could have been called something else is amazing. They are 'Scream.'"

Of course, the decision in retrospect was the right choice. While "Scary Movie" was a fitting title, "Scream" is now iconic, still spawning sequels as recently as 2011, with "Scream 5" coming in 2022.