What is Five Nights at Freddy’s?
Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) is an indie horror game franchise that was developed by previously unknown indie game developer Scott Cawthon. The first installment of the franchise, Five Nights at Freddy’s, was released on August 8th, 2014––and with the game’s sudden newfound success, a total of 12 games have since been released. The latest installment is Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach.
The gameplay of the first installment is simple. However, the mechanics were initially unique (in 2014) as the player is forced to stay in one position throughout the five nights to survive. This is in stark contrast to walking around a designated map performing fetch quests as previous popular horror games had done before (Amnesia & Slender). Although the “jumpscare” trope common in preceding horror games remained. In fact, the “jumpscare” element in the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise became a recognizable staple of the game.
It is to be noted that the FNAF games are praised for invoking an underlying sense of dread during their gameplay. It’s not the jump scares that players must fear but the anticipation and psychological horror of the constant threat that looms each night. Also, taking the setting of a children’s pizzeria, a place usually associated with nostalgia and childhood innocence, and warping it into a place of dread and paranoia is a clever subversion of expectations.
Much of the franchise’s popularity can be owed to microcelebrity influencers known to the horror let’s play community. The game was popularized and became well known through the Youtube platform. As renowned YouTubers, Pewdiepie, Markiplier, and several others in the gaming community started following the trend of playing the game. This essentially propelled Cawthon’s franchise into stardom.
FNAF was a sensational hit in 2014 and paved the way for a devoted fan base that still has many loyal followers in 2022. So, what came next was met with a celebration from fans.
Why is the movie taking so long to come out?
To many fans’ excitement, Scott Cawthon officially announced that a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie is happening on April 7th, 2015. However, fans would be disappointed to discover that the movie would take years even to begin production, if at all. And unfortunately, the film came to be in a quite perilous position for such an ambitious project––development hell.
Interestingly, the rights to the film were turned over to Warner Bros. Pictures in 2015. Under the Warner Bros. flag, Gil Kenan and Tyler Burton Smith were set to direct the film. Two years had passed, and crickets. In January 2017, Cawthon said they were “back to square one” and expressed his desire to “be involved with the movie since day one this time.” So, Warner Bros. Pictures failed to take such a beloved horror game franchise off the ground and into the cinemas. In June 2017, Kenan announced he was no longer attached to the film since FNAF’s departure from the production company.
Nevertheless, all was not lost for a possible adaptation of Five Nights at Freddy’s as a feature film. Cawthon teased in March 2017 that he would instead be collaborating on the film with Blumhouse Productions. And two months later, Jason Blum himself officially confirmed that Blumhouse would produce the FNAF movie.
Adding on, it became known in February of 2018 that Chris Columbus was set to direct the film alongside Cawthon and Blum. It now appeared that the movie would be produced and filmed as, in August 2018, a first draft of the script was finally completed. The same month it was tweeted by Jason Blum that the film would come out in 2020. Cawthon was unsatisfied with his first draft, and his second one wasn’t completed until September 2019. Yet, 2021 came around, and the second draft was scrapped in favor of another script still yet to be finished.
And to worsen matters, Columbus left the filmmaking process, as confirmed in a Collider article in September of 2021. It is suspected that the film being in development hell since 2018 could be the case.
Though it looks grim for the film’s release at all, hope remains from the bits of information that Jason Blum himself has officially given. This Youtube video reveals key details about what is happening currently in the development phase.
“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.” – Jason Blum (2:33)
Moreover, Blum hosted a Twitter Q&A in January 2022 in which FNAF fans jumped at the opportunity to ask about the film and where it’s at right now.
This is what Blum had to say in concern to the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie:
It really is still coming. I promise, guys.
— Jason Blum (@jason_blum) January 15, 2022
Unclear right now
— Jason Blum (@jason_blum) January 15, 2022
What can we expect to see of the movie in 2022?
In summary, from what the public knows right now, there is still trouble confirming a new story, script, and, most notably, a new director. In other tweets regarding the FNAF movie, Blum made it clear that having a director is essential to the creative and filmmaking process. Thus, it’s highly likely that Blumhouse Productions will not work on a new script for the movie until they can find a director they like. Therefore, we can’t expect the movie to release in 2022.