Among the many projects that have been on the Blumhouse “in development” list for the last few years, the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has been one that seems to have had no updates since it was announced back in 2018. The horror game inspired project has been highly anticipated by fans of the 2014 viral sensation, but it has been stuck in development hell for so long that it was starting to look doubtful that the movie was even still on Blumhouse CEO Jason Blum’s radar. While promoting Amazon Prime Video’s Welcome To The Blumhouse, Blum finally gave an update on the long gestating movie, starting with the loss of its original writer/director.
“Chris Columbus is no longer attached,” Blum told Collider, although he wouldn’t be drawn into discussing if anyone else is in line to helm the film. Of course, Columbus has most likely moved on from the stalemate project in favor of his House of Secrets series for Disney+ which was announced earlier this week.
While Jason Blum wasn’t forthcoming in that direction, he was happy to talk about why the movie has taken so long get moving, and it seems that it all comes down to the challenges of getting the script for a game to movie project just right.
“It’s really tough to crack,” Blum said. “We’ve written multiple scripts, and we’ve got where we’re threading a needle, which is doing justice to Five Nights at Freddy’ s and making Scott (Cawthon) happy. The only way that we would go about it is giving Scott … I don’t want to do something that Scott doesn’t like. Let me say that a different way. I don’t have the right to do anything Scott doesn’t like. Basically, Scott has kind of like the equivalent of ‘final cut’ and it’s taken longer than I hoped to get the right story.”
Although that all sounds pretty acceptable, it does seem to contradict a post from last year in which game creator Cawthon described a number of scripts including what he called the “Mike” script, which he said at the time, “All the right characters, all the right motivations, all the right stakes… It’s fun, it’s scary, and it has a great central story!” What has changed between then and now is unclear, but it looks like whatever went down has caused the project to get a bit of a return to the drawing board scenario.
The Five Nights at Freddy‘s movie has had a long and bumpy road to its current position, having started out at Warner Bros. with Monster House director Gil Kenan helming, but the rights were then bought by Blumhouse. The game does have a basic storyline of a pizza shop night shift worker trying to survive an onslaught of evil animatronics, and while that on its own could well sustain a 90 minute cheap-thrills horror movie, it looks like Blum is holding out for something a little more expansive, and of course over the years the game has developed in numerous ways that the movie may want to explore…or more likely hold back for potential sequels, which are pretty much guaranteed if this first movie gets off the ground. This story originated at Collider.