EXCLUSIVE: Chris Columbus has signed on to write, direct and produce Blumhouse’s screen adaptation of Scott Cawthon’s popular video game Five Nights at Freddy’s, which centers on a security guard battling animatronic robots that come to life in a Chuck E. Cheese-like venue.
Blumhouse landed Five Nights at Freddy’s last March when movie rights were put in turnaround by New Line. Every genre filmmaker wanted it, but Blumhouse landed the property because producer Jason Blum won the allegiance of creator Cawthon. Columbus is repped by WME.
Cawthon will produce alongside Columbus and Blumhouse’s Blum. Cawthon launched the original game in 2014 and it became an immediate online sensation, ultimately generating billions of views on YouTube. Five Nights at Freddy‘s spans six different games; each of the games’ mobile apps ranked at the top of Android and iOS stores upon release. To date, the franchise includes a series of bestselling novels and top-performing retail merchandise lines.
Columbus has a long streak with haunted classics going back to his screenwriting days on Gremlins, The Goonies and Young Sherlock Holmes. As director of such landmark tentpoles as Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire and the first two Harry Potter titles, his credits count more than $4.1 billion at the global box office. His producing credits include Night at the Museum and The Help, the latter of which earned him a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
Columbus teamed with Eleanor Columbus, a 2011 graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, to form Maiden Voyage Pictures in 2013. Maiden Voyage’s film credits include Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents, Jonas Carpignano’s Mediterranea, Robert Eggers’ The Witch and Sian Heder’s Tallulah. Maiden Voyage’s Patti Cake$, directed by Geremy Jasper, and Menashe, directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein, are both nominated for Best First Feature at this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Gil Kenan, who had directed MGM’s recent iteration of Poltergeist, was the last filmmaker to take a crack at Five Nights at Freddy‘s as director and co-scribe when the brand was set up at Warner Bros/New Line.
Blumhouse broke the news about Columbus’ attachment on Twitter today: