EXCLUSIVE: While attending New York Comic Con, Universal Pictures invited Vital Thrills to speak with Jason Blum, the prolific horror producer and Blumhouse impresario who brought us Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge, and now the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie hitting theaters and streaming on Peacock this October 27.
This adaptation of the popular horror game series has been in development for eight years, and Blum talked about why exactly it took so long to bring to the screen.
Vital Thrills: As the producer, how did you protect the director Emma Tammi to a certain extent from both the studio and the video game makers in a “this is what we do” kind of way?
Jason Blum: We made a decision early on with the movie, which is one of the main reasons we were able to make a movie with Scott is we didn’t… Usually when Hollywood does an existing IP they try and make a movie that works for the fans and gets some new fans. Oftentimes that frustrates a lot of people, you lose more than you gain.
So we really focused with Scott from the very beginning on making a movie just for the fans. Other people come to see it, that’s great, but it’s really made for Five Nights at Freddy’s fans, first and foremost.
We didn’t try and have our cake and eat it too. I think that kind of answers your question. That made for a better road and good relationships with Emma and Scott… and a very satisfying movie.
Vital Thrills: Chris Columbus was attached to direct prior to Emma a long time ago. What would you say are the biggest differences between this version and the one that Chris was going to do?
Jason Blum: I think that the reason it took so long is early on — to my point — we were trying to get both. I think that we learned over time that wasn’t going to work. I think that’s the biggest difference between the two versions.
Vital Thrills: I can imagine somebody like Chris maybe chafing under budget constraints that he’s not used to.
Jason Blum: We didn’t even get that far. It was more that initially we thought it was going to be more traditional developments where the movie was at Warner Brothers and didn’t happen. Scott was going to say, “Okay, invent a movie of this.”
What we learned working with Scott over the years is, “Wait a second, I want to know exactly every scene, I want to be involved in every aspect of this.”
That’s not how he started. That’s why it took so long to get made, but that’s what we learned going through the process. It turned out to be a great thing. We think the movie is much better as a result.
Vital Thrills: In recent years you’ve become known for reviving IP’s like Halloween and The Exorcist. Recently you and Ryan Turek have even been talking about doing Friday the 13th. The perceived wisdom used to be that you redo something that didn’t quite work, or that was an almost-but-not-quite. Is there any more obscure/less iconic property out there that wasn’t famous initially that you would be interested in revamping?
Jason Blum: You never know. Yeah, there is actually… there are a few. Some great titles where I feel like the movie didn’t live up to the title. There’s one in particular, I can’t tell you what it is, but that I’m looking at… so yes!
The answer is yes. (laughs) I just can’t tell you which ones. We’ve looked at them. There’s one we’re looking at trying to do, we’ll see.
The terrifying horror game phenomenon becomes a blood-chilling cinematic event, as Blumhouse — the producer of M3GAN, The Black Phone and The Invisible Man — brings Five Nights at Freddy’s to the big screen.
The film follows a troubled security guard as he begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. While spending his first night on the job, he realizes the night shift at Freddy’s won’t be so easy to make it through.
Five Nights at Freddy’s stars Josh Hutcherson (Ultraman, The Hunger Games franchise), Elizabeth Lail (You, Mack & Rita), Piper Rubio (Holly & Ivy, Unstable), and Kat Conner Sterling (We Have a Ghost, 9-1-1).
The cast also includes Mary Stuart Masterson (Blindspot, Fried Green Tomatoes) and Matthew Lillard (Good Girls, Scream).
Five Nights at Freddy’s was directed by Emma Tammi (The Wind, Blood Moon) and written by Scott Cawthon, Emma Tammi and Seth Cuddeback. The film’s iconic animatronic characters were created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is produced by Jason Blum and Scott Cawthon. The film’s executive producers are Bea Sequeira, Russell Binder and Christopher H. Warner.
Max Evry has been a film journalist since 2005, serving at various times as a writer, interviewer, graphic designer, podcaster, video creator, features editor, and managing editor. Past media outlets have included MTV, /Film, IGN, and Fangoria. For home video companies Arrow, Kino Lorber, Indicator, and Via Vision he has provided Blu-ray audio commentaries as well as featurettes for classic and contemporary films including “Flatliners,” “Blackhat,” and Best Picture Oscar winner “Marty.” In 2023 he released his first book “A Masterpiece in Disarray: David Lynch’s Dune – An Oral History” to considerable acclaim.