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'Five Nights At Freddy's' and Internet Fandom's Influence On The Film Industry.

Written by Tori Raphael. Published: November 08 2023
(Photo: Universal Pictures)


Fans and critics seem divided on the recent release of the new film Five Nights At Freddy’s. Based on the mega-popular video game, it was only a matter of time before a film adaptation would come to be. When Five Nights at Freddy’s was first released in 2014, to wide success following online discourse with the game, every YouTuber was playing the game, and every fan was watching Let's Play videos of the game. The IP of this video game, therefore, would have been valuable for anyone to make a film about. 




It’s no secret that Hollywood is running out of Intellectual property ideas. Everything that has a fan following -- whether it is a video game, product, celebrity, or popular book -- is being adapted. The video game was the perfect format to make a film about because of the intense online following the video game has gained. It seems now that Five Nights At Freddy's was pure fan service for the people online who championed the making of the film. It has most of the elements of the initial game and even had cameos of popular internet personalities such as Matpat, a YouTuber known for his video game theories. His appearance in the film is meant to expand the larger fan base around FNAF online commentary. Video games like Five Nights At Freddy’s have intentional mysteries associated with them, to have more interactive online discourses about solving the mysteries. Although fans loved the film, critics seemed not to like it - however, that did not stop the film from making a lot of money at the box office. FNAF has had incredible box office success so far, exceeding all expectations by making $80 million on opening weekend. 




This film seems to be coming at a time when the trend in Hollywood is to not only make films that have intellectual property but also properties that have a loyal online fan base. A great example of this would be the Wattpad movies that have been produced, such as After, but also the "Zach Snyder Cut" of Justice League, which was pushed for by loyal fans as they hounded DC and producers to release the film for months. FNAT film was similarly championed by fans starting in 2015. 




Another example of online fandom's influence on what we see on-screen came in 2021 when Marvel Studios admitted that they changed some plot points in "WandaVision" because fans online were getting too close to guessing certain upcoming plot twists. So, instead of rewarding fans for their engagement and theorizing, they pulled the rug out from under them completely. 


Is this new internet influence on the film industry a bad thing? As we enter the age where AI can write most things, the use of the internet's influence on entertainment poses a scary question. Indeed, the future of writing in entertainment may be in jeopardy of being taken over by AI but for now poses a low threat. However, the influence of fans on what they want to see, such as fan service for different franchises, isn't all a bad thing. With the strikes in Hollywood, internet fandom influence may make the industry more democratic as a whole. If studios know exactly what the people want to see, it may have profound effects on the industry -- not all bad. That being said, making films purely based on other IP and media will invariably make Hollywood less creative and innovative. With the massive success of Five Nights At Freddy's, there is no doubt we will start seeing more online content such as YouTubers, online games, and social media presences start making it to the big screen!