Five Nights At Freddy’s is a pretty good modern-day example of how the industry can be slow to react to trends. When the original game first premiered on Steam and blew up sales charts, every merchandiser was skeptical: “Why would kids want T-shirts and figurines of characters so ugly?” A while later, the series was on its fourth installment, its star was fading, and mountains of Freddys merchandise suddenly flooded GameStops nationwide, where they sat.
If the collectibles industry is slow, Hollywood is slower still. (Observe that Slender Man didn’t get a movie until THIS year.) Thus we’re just now hearing about a Five Nights At Freddy’s motion picture, produced by Blumhouse Productions and written and directed by Chris Columbus.
This time it could have happened sooner — New Line originally picked up the license at its peak, but sat on it. Eventually they put the property in turnaround where Blumhouse picked it up. Originally the New Line version was to be directed by Gil Kenan, a more obscure filmmaker whose most recent credit was the tepid Poltergeist remake. Columbus doesn’t dabble in horror often, but he stands a chance at making something good here, we hope.
The question is if, over a year from now, audiences will still respond to the Freddy’s brand. But the Angry Birds movie didn’t bomb, so who’s to say what is fresh and what is stale?