Now that the mad rush by every major studio to schedule their buzziest projects in the summer of 2015 appears to have subsided, savvy execs are beginning to look further forward to book slots in 2016. Yesterday, we brought you news that Warner Bros. had slotted romantic comedy How to Be Single for that year’s Valentine’s Day weekend, and now Sony is getting in on the action by handing their children’s book series adaptation Goosebumps a spring release date of March 23, 2016.
Currently, the Rob Letterman-helmed film, inspired by R.L. Stine’s massively popular YA horror anthology series, has the weekend all to itself, though it will probably face stiff competition from two holdovers: Summit’s already-scheduled Divergent sequel Allegiant and DreamWorks’ ambitious Mumbai Musical. Putting Goosebumps so close to both films indicates that Sony has a large amount of confidence in the film’s ability to overcome the pair, particularly Mumbai, which is squarely aimed at the adaptation’s same young target audience.
Fans of the book series will likely be disappointed to learn that the film’s plot follows a Stine-like author, played by Jack Black, whose creations emerge from the pages of his famed books to wreak havoc on his neighborhood. The Giver actress Odeya Rush and Prisoners co-star Dylan Minnette are also set to star, as Stine’s niece and a neighborhood boy who team up to take on the monsters.
My hopes aren’t too high for Goosebumps, considering that Black’s last collaboration with Letterman was the misguided, unlikeable Gulliver’s Travels. However, the screenwriters involved, including Scott Alexander, Carl Ellsworth, Larry Karaszewski and Darren Lemke, have all done decent work in the past. Alexander and Karaszewski previously penned the scripts for Ed Wood, 1408 and Agent Cody Banks; Ellsworth is a more full-blooded horror writer, with Red Eye and The Last House on the Left to his name; and Lemke is known for kid-targeted flicks like Jack the Giant Slayer and Turbo. Between the four of them, Goosebumps could end up with a strong script that balances scares and family-friendly adventure, as long as Black doesn’t inject the project with an overdose of his grating goofiness.
We’ll have to wait a while to see whether Goosebumps succeeds as an adaptation of Stine’s beloved series, but what do you think based on what you’ve heard about the project so far? Will you be keeping watch for Goosebumps? Sound off below.