As Casey shrieked out for her parents, studio executives seemingly rolled their eyes over Craven’s early footage of the film’s legendary opening sequence. Unfortunately, the grisly display didn’t captivate Dimension Films’ top decision-makers the way it did enthusiastic horror lovers. Film editor Patrick Lussier revisited the early days of the film with The Hollywood Reporter, sharing: “The first sequence that was shot was the Drew Barrymore sequence. The studio hated the dailies. They sent him dailies from their remake of Nightwatch and said, ‘You’ve got to look at this. This is how a movie’s made.'”
The blunt response crushed the innovative filmmaker at first, which screenwriter Kevin Williamson shared with The Hollywood Reporter: “I’ll never forget, we were sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store and we were filming the news footage of Liev Schreiber [Cotton Weary] walking out and being put into a car and ushered away. Wes got the phone call from the studio, and I was sitting behind him in my chair, and I just saw his back slump. He just started sliding down the chair. They didn’t think anything about it was good. They didn’t understand the lack of footage and they didn’t see his vision for that sequence at all.”
THR also notes executive Bob Weinstein as one of the largest barriers originally, but eventually came around after seeing the edited cut. Thankfully, Patrick Lussier captured Craven’s chilling vision in a sublime fashion, gifting us this singular opening sequence.