In case you forgot they were making this, here’s the trailer for the GOOSEBUMPS movie – which for whatever reason seems to be not making any kind of big deal that Jack Black is supposed to be playing the “actual” R.L. Stine:
The basic premise here (all of the “iconic” Goosebumps monsters escape into the real world, knowledge of the books is the key to beating them) feels like it’s relying on a ready-made audience eager to cheer on the appearance of each famous creature – the climax of CABIN IN THE WOODS but for kids and stretched-out for a whole movie. Good pitch, but is the audience there? I could be totally off-base, but do the Goosebumps books actually have any kind of following among contemporary (read: born after the series big moment in the 90s) kids?
A few years back when I was working in a used book store, I remember we would constantly get huge collections of old Goosebumps stuff in. And while we’d sell out of it just as constantly (as in: People would see our huge wall of GB books and buy like 20-25 at a time) it was almost never to kids in the “target” audience – always older Gen Y teenagers impulse-buying for nostalgia.
So I can’t help but feel like doing “JUMANJI, but for Goosebumps” is sort-of a missed opportunity – if the main audience for this property is now college-age “O.G.” Goosebumps megafans, the idea of these creatures turning up and being actually “horror-movie scary” (preceded, obviously, by college-aged protagonists reminiscing “ironically” about reading Goosebumps as kids and how “they totally aren’t/wouldn’t be scary NOW!”) sounds like a more interesting feature – in fact, whoever owns the rights to ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? Feel free to steal that.
Or maybe I’m wrong, and there’s enough “current” fandom for these things combined with the 90s nostalgia crowd to give GOOSEBUMPS legs. Sony certainly seems to think so, as they’ve positioned the film for a Halloween-ready October 16th U.S. release.