Five Nights at Freddy’s is a 2023 American supernatural horror film directed by Emma Tammi from a screenplay she co-wrote with Scott Cawthon and Seth Cuddeback. Produced by Blumhouse Productions and Striker Entertainment, it is based on the video game franchise of the same name created by Cawthon, who also serves as producer with Jason Blum. The film stars Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, Piper Rubio, and Matthew Lillard.
Development of a Five Nights at Freddy’s film adaptation began in April 2015, with the involvement of Warner Bros. Pictures. Roy Lee, David Katzenberg, and Seth Grahame-Smith were set to produce it, with Gil Kenan announced as director and co-writer. After several delays in production, the Warner Bros. version was no longer moving forward and Kenan dropped out of the project. In March 2017, Blumhouse Productions was announced as the new production company, with Chris Columbus set to direct and co-write. Columbus also ultimately left the project, and Emma Tammi was announced as his replacement in October 2022. The main cast were confirmed in December, while other cast additions were signed in March 2023. Filming began in New Orleans on February 1, and wrapped on April 3, 2023.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is scheduled to be released simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock in the United States on October 27, 2023, by Universal Pictures.
Mike Schmidt, a troubled security guard, accepts a night-time job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a once-successful abandoned family entertainment center, where he discovers its four animatronic mascots – Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy – move and kill anyone that is still there after midnight.
Josh Hutcherson as Mike Schmidt
Elizabeth Lail as Vanessa Monroe
Piper Rubio as Abby Schmidt
Matthew Lillard as Steve Raglan[a]
Kat Conner Sterling as Max
Mary Stuart Masterson as Aunt Jane
Additionally, gaming YouTuber CoryxKenshin has a cameo appearance as a taxi driver.
In April 2015, Warner Bros. Pictures announced it had acquired the film rights to the Five Nights at Freddy’s video game franchise with Roy Lee, David Katzenberg, and Seth Grahame-Smith set to produce the adaptation. Grahame-Smith stated that they would collaborate with franchise creator Scott Cawthon “to make an insane, terrifying and weirdly adorable movie”. In July 2015, Gil Kenan signed to direct the film from a screenplay co-written with Tyler Burton Smith.
In March 2017, Cawthon tweeted announcing Blumhouse Productions as the film’s new production company after Warner Bros. Pictures put the project in turnaround. In May 2017, producer Jason Blum said he was excited and working closely with Cawthon on the film. In June 2017, Kenan said he was no longer directing the film.
In February 2018, Chris Columbus was announced as Kenan’s replacement as director and writer, besides producing the film alongside Blum and Cawthon. In August 2018, Cawthon revealed that the first draft of the film’s script, which he wrote with co-author of the Five Nights at Freddy’s novel trilogy, Kira Breed-Wrisley, was completed, and it would involve the events of the series’ first game. That same month, Blum wrote on Twitter that the film was aiming for a 2020 release. In November, Cawthon announced that he scrapped the script, despite being liked by Columbus and Blum, as he “had a different idea for [the story], one that I liked better”. It contributed to a further delay to the film, for which Cawthon took full responsibility. In June 2020, during an interview with Fandom, Blum, when asked about the progress of the film, stated:
“It’s super active, so I really feel like we have a very good shot at seeing a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie…I feel like it’s really moving forward; it’s not stalled or anything else. It’s moving forward rapidly. I don’t want to put a timeline on it, but soon we’ll get a movie. I feel really confident about that.”
In September 2021, Blum revealed that Columbus was no longer involved with the project, but it was still in active development. In August 2022, Blum announced that Jim Henson’s Creature Shop would be working on the animatronic characters for the film. In October, Emma Tammi was announced as Columbus’ replacement as director, in addition to co-writing the screenplay alongside Cawthon and Seth Cuddeback.
In December 2022, Josh Hutcherson and Matthew Lillard joined the cast in undisclosed roles. Five Nights at Freddy’s-related YouTuber Dawko later revealed during a livestream that Hutcherson would portray the first game’s security guard Mike Schmidt and Lillard would portray the franchise’s main villain William Afton. He also revealed that Mary Stuart Masterson and Piper Rubio joined the cast as an undisclosed female villain and Schmidt’s younger sister Abby, respectively. In March 2023, it was reported that Kat Conner Sterling and Elizabeth Lail were cast in the film. Lucas Grant and Jessica Blackmore have undisclosed roles.
Principal photography was initially set to begin in March 2021. However, due to script issues, filming was delayed. Filming began in New Orleans on February 1, 2023, under the working title Bad Cupcake, with an estimated production budget (before tax incentives) of $25 million, and wrapped on April 3. Lillard began filming his scenes in mid-February.
In June 2023, it was revealed that Tyler Bates would be composing the score for the film.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is scheduled to be released simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock in the United States by Universal Pictures on October 27, 2023.
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