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Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Film for the Fans

This article contains spoilers for the Five Nights at Freddy’s Movie (2023), and predictions for its sequel. Proceed with caution!

After seven years of waiting, Five Night’s at Freddy’s (FNAF) has finally got the movie it has always deserved. Scott Cawthon’s groundbreaking franchise is 9 years old, and ‘currently consists of a total of 20 video games (10 main games, 6 spin-offs, and 4 troll games), a total of 48 books (3 novel books, 21 anthology books, 8 graphic novels, 5 guidebooks, 3 coloring books, and 8 other books)’ according to the fandom wiki. Movie talks began in 2015, when Warner Bros. Pictures were involved, but this collaboration ultimately fell through and instead, in March 2017, Blumhouse Productions were named as the new production company for the film. Scott Cawthon himself was one of the key writers for the film, and is also named as a producer alongside Jason Blum. The film released in the UK on the 25th October, 2023 and is still in cinemas at time of writing – it is also available on the streaming service Peacock.

For FNAF fans, watching the film was not about seeing whether it was good or bad. It was about seeing it at all. The sheer disbelief that the film was even real, after years of waiting, left fans absolutely ecstatic at the opening credits.

The blurb for the film reads ‘A troubled security guard begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. During his first night on the job, he realizes that the night shift won’t be so easy to get through. Pretty soon he will unveil what actually happened at Freddy’s.’ This troubled security guard is called Mike Schmidt, the same character we play as in the first FNAF game. In the film, Mike is played by Josh Hutcherson, and the film’s villain William Afton is played by Matthew Lillard (known colloquially as “purple guy”, Afton first appears disguised as the career counsellor Steve Raglan). The young Piper Rubio is also being praised for excelling in her role as Mike’s little sister Abby.

From an outsiders perspective, the FNAF movie isn’t going to be brilliant – even labelled ‘decidedly unscary’ by critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. But for fans of the franchise, it’s everything they’ve been waiting for and more, especially when considering the potential sequels. Being able to understand the characters and anticipate key story beats makes watching the film all the more exciting. Seemingly, knowing too much going in would usually make a film less exciting, but for FNAF, it’s quite the opposite. The predictability is more like seeing your favourite band live in concert – being able to sing along, because you already know all the lyrics, makes you feel included. On the other hand, having no understanding of the franchise probably leaves something to be desired. The Rotten Tomatoes ratio is showing this qite dramatically. The audience score (probably consisting entirely of FNAF fans) lies at a whopping 88%, while the critics score is down at 29%. For the FNAF film, this rare ratio is not surprising at all.

It’s obvious that the FNAF movie was made for the fans, and why wouldn’t it be? They are the ones bringing in huge amounts of money to keep their beloved franchise thriving.

In true game theory fashion, FNAF fans and theorists are already speculating what a sequel to the FNAF movie could contain, since all evidence points towards the creation of a movie trilogy. The movie was excellent at world-building, setting a fantastic foundation for future films. We know a trilogy is likely from two important interviews, and the financial success of the film in comparison to its budget.

In 2018, influential FNAF news and theorist Youtuber Dawko (Lewis Dawkins) interviewed Scott Cawthon, who expressed his desire to create a movie trilogy. ‘Ideally if the first movie does really well I think it would work great as a trilogy – FNAF 1, FNAF 2 and FNAF 3, based on the first three games.’

And do well it did. The FNAF movie, with a budget of $22 million USD, instantly smashed Blumhouse’s records, ‘making it the highest-grossing Blumhouse global opening ever.’ Box Office Mojo now reports that the film has made over $217 million USD worldwide. Furthermore, in an interview with the WeeklyMTG Podcast, Matthew Lillard (who plays the key antagonist in the film) revealed that he had signed a ‘three picture deal with universal’. There’s now no doubt that with the success of the first FNAF movie, we’ll see a sequel, if not two.

So what are the speculations for the next film? In a recent video, Dawko covered his predictions for the sequel based on the loose ends remaining from the first movie. With added knowledge of the main events of the game series, it’s pretty easy to predict what is going to come next. Let’s explore the main points:

1. “I always come back”

At the end of the FNAF movie, we see a plot point from the games that directly correlates to the movie – the famous springlock failure, that sees our favourite purple guy William Afton being “springlocked” by the Spring Bonnie suit (or the “yellow rabbit” suit of the movie). Afton, knowing he will be killed by this failure, voices his famous line from the games; “I always come back” (making audiences in theatres go wild) before re-donning the head of the suit. In. Dawko’s FNAF 2 movie prediction video, he says ‘What’s going to happen to William Afton? We kind of know that.’ Here he means that fans of the franchise (and Afton himself) already know that Afton will go onto posses the springlock suit, just like the dead children who posses the other animatronics. This iteration of Afton is known as Springtrap in the games, and thus fans are hopeful to see a Springtrap boss battle represented in the next movie. Interestingly, we don’t see Afton die completely in the movie – another reference to how Afton’s character in the games seems to live on and on despite multiple events that should have killed him off. He always comes back.

2. Vanessa’s hospital scene

Another loose end is the scene of Vanessa, who is in a coma at the end of the movie. (Vanessa is revealed in the film to be Afton’s daughter, which is not cannon with the lore of the games) It’s widely predicted she will survive this coma so her character arc can continue for the next film, perhaps fighting against William Afton (or his Springtrap variation) alongside Mike.

3. Visiting the animatronics

At the end of the film, Abby expresses that she wants to go and see her friends (the animatronics) again, and Mike tells her that you never know what might happen. This open ended line basically slingshots us into a sequel where we either see a return of these FNAF 1 animatronics, or new “friends” for Abby are introduced.

4. The FNAF 2 location

Speaking of new friends for Abby, it’s pretty clear from Scott Cawthon’s interview that the next two movies will follow the games, so FNAF 2 and FNAF 3. Dawko predicts that the next film is ‘going to be about Five Nights at Freddy’s two, the FNAF 2 location with the toy animatronics and of course, the puppet.’

This is not an exhaustive list of everything the next film could clarify, but it’s clear there’s plenty of storylines to carry over into a sequel, either from the first film, or the world of the games.

Any FNAF franchise coverage is not complete without mentioning MatPat. In a true testament to the fans, internet icon and king of the theorising empire MatPat (Matthew Patrick) was featured in a cameo as a Sparky’s Diner waiter. Specifically, his name badge read ‘Ness’, installed by Scott Cawthon in a meme-ish reference to Matt’s infamously ridiculous game theory episode, commonly known as Sans is Ness. Matt, in one of his recent film theories said that Scott Cawthon was ‘very proud of himself’ for making this reference. If you’re not convinced any of this matters, just have a listen here to the audience’s reaction to Matt’s cameo. It’s pretty spectacular.

Though the FNAF franchise has been around for a long time, it’s certainly not slowing down. Yet another game, Help Wanted 2, is expected to release in December this year, and with the FNAF movie’s release and excitement around the sequels, FNAF fans have plenty to look forward to. In 2023 alone, fans have enjoyed the release of the Security Breach DLC; Ruin, the movie, the release of the interesting yet infuriating Character Encyclopaedia book back in February, the “troll game” Freddy in Space 3: Chica in Space (released by Scott Cawthon in anticipation of the movie) and even more of Cawthon’s fiction books, not to mention all the trailers for the movie. FNAF fans have been eating well this year, and there’s more of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza to look forward to yet.

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