A trailer has arrived for the upcoming film adaptation of the kids’ horror book series “Goosebumps.”
The film stars Dylan Minnette of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” as Zach, who moves to a new town and meets his neighbors Hannah (Odeya Rush) and her uncle R.L. Stine (the actual name of the author who writes the “Goosebumps” books and who is portrayed by Jack Black in the film). A series of unfortunate events leads to the creepy characters from Stine’s books being unleashed on the town.
Stine’s books were previously adapted as a TV series that ran on Fox during the 1990s.
While parents would no doubt judge for themselves based on their child, the “Goosebumps” books were aimed at fairly young readers, with one title listed as being appropriate for children ages 8 to 12. The film may be trying to draw in a teen audience as well, as Minnette is 18 in real life and Rush is also 18. However, younger children who read the books will no doubt go to see the film.
The “Goosebumps” film is one of what seems like an increasingly rare breed: a live-action film aimed at a young audience (not, for example, high school students). Recent smashes like the 2014 film “The Fault in Our Stars” and the still-continuing “Hunger Games” series were based on young adult titles and few parents would probably bring a 10-year-old, for example, to go see it – its plot and themes would most likely prove upsetting or confusing for kids in that age range.
With Pixar releasing a movie almost every year and Disney still a cultural force at the movie theater, other studios are no doubt loath to go up against them, since animated films by both have proven so successful. In addition, some recent live-action movies aimed squarely at a younger audience (rather than other young adult hits like “The Hunger Games”) have stumbled at the box office, which could make studios leery as well. The 2014 film “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” was released this past October and did all right at the box office, but was not a huge hit, while "Annie," which came out the same year, did not succeed either and the sequel "Muppets Most Wanted" did even worse than the other two. 2013's "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters" was also not a winner. The “Night at the Museum” series has done good business over the last several years, but the last film (2014’s “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”) grossed far less than its predecessors.
The early “Harry Potter” films were good for most ages, though it’s probably another discussion on whether the later ones would have been appropriate for that same hypothetical 10-year-old (a whole lot of major characters met their end in the last installment). A live-action film for younger kids hasn’t been in the top 20 highest-grossing films domestically since 2011, when “The Smurfs” performed positively at the box office. (A sequel didn’t fare as well.)
“Goosebumps,” however, may pull in a younger kid audience as well as Millennials who grew up in the ‘90s and remember the books fondly. This one-two punch could help “Goosebumps” find box office success.