EXCLUSIVE: And here we thought this was the summer of fear. Turns out, it’s a year away. Sources tell Deadline that Netflix just closed a deal with Disney to acquire a trilogy of interconnected Fear Street films adapted from R.L. Stine’s bestselling book series. Director Leigh Janiak has wrapped all three films, and the early plan is to run them a month apart next summer. This will be wrapped into a themed event that will be marketed by Netflix as The Summer of Fear.
It’s a natural landing place for the three films. Chernin Entertainment, which produced them, exited its Fox deal following the Disney acquisition. The Fear Street films were slated to be released theatrically by Fox, but that went sideways because the Disney release schedule is always so crowded, the pandemic shuttered movie theaters, and the subject matter is scarier than traditional Mouse fare.
Chernin’s Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping were given the latitude to set up the films elsewhere, and they decided to experiment with a model-busting release with Netflix, where Chernin signed a first-look deal in April. The Fear Street saga starts in 1994, where a group of teens find out that a terrifying series of events in their hometown of Shadyside, Ohio, might be connected. Worse, the teens might be next up as targets. The films cover three different time periods, including the 1600s.
Janiak helmed all three installments and co-wrote on them with her writing partner Phil Graziadei. Kyle Killen was the first writer on and Bullet Train scribe Zak Olkewicz also wrote on the project. She previously directed Honeymoon, along with episodes of Scream: The TV Series. Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Emily Rudd, Benjamin Flores Jr, Gillian Jacobs, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Ashley Zukerman, Fred Hechinger, Julia Rehwald and Jeremy Ford lead the ensemble youth cast.
It gives Chernin a jump-start to its deal after a long run at Fox that included Hidden Figures, The Greatest Showman, the Matt Reeves-directed trilogy Planet of the Apes and the James Mangold-directed Ford v Ferrari, a Best Picture nominee in the last Oscar race.
Neither Netflix nor Chernin nor Disney would comment on the deal.
Janiak is repped by Verve and Morris Yorn Barnes.