Marvel Cinematic Universe screenwriters Zack Stentz and C. Robert Cargill explain why the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has serious potential. Based on the video game franchise created by Scott Cawthon, who also co-wrote the script, the upcoming horror film follows a nighttime security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, where four animatronic mascots come alive and kill anyone who is there after midnight. The Five Nights at Freddy’s cast includes Josh Hutcherson, Matthew Lillard, Elizabeth Lail, and Mary Stuart Masterson.
Ahead of the Five Nights at Freddy’s release on October 27, two MCU writers took to Twitter to share some thoughts on the movie’s potential. Stentz, who co-wrote 2011’s Thor, says that Hollywood doesn’t understand how popular Five Nights at Freddy’s is among younger audiences, which could make for a big office success. Cargill, who co-wrote 2016’s Doctor Strange, commented on how much source material there is to support a potential film franchise. See the full exchange below:
Stentz says, “I don’t think most of Hollywood quite understands just how huge a brand Five Nights at Freddy’s is to Zoomers and Generation Alpha. If it becomes an organic event to go to it like the last Minions movie, it could be absolutely huge.”
In response to Stentz, Cargill says, “Studios have no idea how many books and games there are. Blum can be making these for YEARS without needing to reboot, refresh, or come up with new material.”
Continuing his comments, Stentz says, “When it comes to making movies based on brands/IP, there are the ones where you need to make a really good movie & maybe people will come, & the ones where you just need to not screw it up because people love the brand that much. This is definitely the latter… The thing that stuns me is Chuck E. Cheese getting rid of their animatronics right as FNAF exploded in popularity, instead of leaning into it and doing some kid-friendly horror events at their restaurants.”
Like most potential franchise starters, Five Nights at Freddy’s life on the big screen will likely be determined by its box office performance, and like most horror movies, the video game adaptation was made for a mid-sized budget of $25 million. Therefore, it won’t have to make much money to be declared a success. There are no official projections yet for Five Nights at Freddy’s, though an opening weekend within the $20-$40 million range seems likely. Considering its name recognition, grossing $100 million worldwide is also a possibility.
A Minions: Rise of Gru-like event, as Stentz mentions, is much more unlikely. The animated movie, which was released in 2022, grossed over $100 million in its opening weekend and ended its run with almost $1 billion worldwide. Five Nights at Freddy’s is due for a day-and-date release on Peacock, so streaming availability is expected to eat into its box office returns.
However, even if Five Nights at Freddy’s hits the more realistic box office milestones, a franchise is likely. As Cargill mentions, there is a wellspring of source material for Blumhouse to adapt, including a total of 9 main games and more spinoffs in the series which could support a film franchise for years to come. The two MCU screenwriters see some serious potential, but whether audiences show up in droves to see Five Nights at Freddy’s in theaters remains to be seen.
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