The Goosebumps movie sequel, which is tentatively titled Goosebumps: Horrorland, has found a new director in Ari Sandel. Based on the iconic book series of the same name by R.L. Stine, Goosebumps starred Jack Black in a warmly received, family-friendly adventure that made a modest profit at the box office. Rather than directly adapting any of the classic Goosebumps stories, the movie saw Black take on the role of author Stine himself, with the writer’s monstrous creations coming to life and wreaking havoc in the real world.
Due the the success of Goosebumps, a sequel was quickly put into the early stages of development and at the start of 2017, a release date of January 2018 was tentatively set. This was soon pushed back to September 21st 2018 and the sequel was given a new title: Goosebumps: Horrorland, a reference to the 1994 book One Day At Horrorland. It was also reported around this time that the original movie’s director, Rob Letterman, would be returning for the sequel.
Conversely, Variety are now reporting that the Goosebumps follow up will be directed by Ari Sandel (The DUFF, Monster High). The report notes that two Goosebumps scripts are currently in development, due to potential scheduling conflicts with lead actor Jack Black and states that at least of these scripts is written by Rob Lieber. Surprisingly, Sony are also looking to cut back on the cost of this sequel despite the original movie making a profit – a decision that could be a contingency plan for potentially having to continue without their main star.
The overriding suggestion is that Sony Pictures (the studio backing the film) are yet to decide which script to go with due to their inability to nail Jack Black down to the project and this could perhaps account for the conflicting stories regarding who will ultimately direct. It’s also possible that Letterman was attached to direct the film, but has since stepped away – due to the delay in production on the Goosebumps sequel – to focus on making the newly-set 2019 release date for Detective Pikachu (which Letterman is also directing).
Assuming Sony does eventually press ahead with a Goosebumps sequel featuring Ari Sandel behind the camera, the project has the potential to be a very exciting, yet somewhat risky, picture. As a director, Sandel only has a few full-length movie credits to his name. However, his short film West Bank Story won the 2007 Oscar for Best Short Film, suggesting the man certainly has something special to offer here.
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