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Financially, Hollywood runs on the basis of dollars and cents. But often there’s more to it than that. Which explains why Jack Black has reunited with director Rob Letterman on the upcoming Goosebumps, given that their last collaboration was the ultimately derided and forgotten bomb Gulliver’s Travels.
Now, Goosebumps has a release date of March 23rd, 2016 according to THR. That’s more than two years from now, so you’ve got tons of time to leave a note in your Trapper Keeper. The adaptation of R.L. Stine’s kiddie horror novels follows Black as a kid-lit author not unlike R.L. Stine who finds his creations coming to life. In The Mouth Of Madness, but, you know, for kids! Stine’s books created an empire, selling 300 million copies worldwide based on a series of only 62 installments, with various spinoffs and offshoots. Goosebumps also had a television series on FOX at one point and was basically the one-stop shop for kids in the 90’s who wanted to get spooked.
Considering we’re two years away, March 2016 is awfully crowded. It won’t be long before Goosebumps is sharing real estate with a movie aimed at adults, but it currently has the 23rd all to itself. The beginning of that month finds Disney earmarking the territory for an untitled animated film, one that would be following Big Hero 6 and will be viewed as Disney’s follow-up to the massive success of Frozen -- they’re concentrating on live-action efforts and Pixar pictures in the meantime.
Later in that month, Universal is unleashing Warcraft based on the massively popular games, on the 11th. A week later, Lionsgate is confidently staking its claim on the 18th for Allegiant, the second sequel to the upcoming Divergent: you wonder if they keep that date if Divergent flops, or maybe Allegiant doesn’t even happen. And if the kid and young adult marketplace wasn’t stretched thin enough, the 18th also sees the release of Fox’s (very?) tentatively-titled animated film Mumbai Musical, from Tarzan and Enchanted director Kevin Lima.
Are there going to be ANY parents with money leftover that month by the time Goosebumps hits? Do kids still want PG-scares? In the nineties, it made sense, because kids couldn’t gain access to truly spooky material. But now real-life horror is a click away, and when you go see R-rated horror films, a huge chunk of the crowd are kids sitting with their "cool" parents. Basic cable boasts the mutilation-heavy The Walking Dead, and other shows that don’t skimp on gore and violence. Relaunches of the brand have been met with little success in the 21st century, and the core audience for the books is in their twenties and thirties by now. Is there still a market for Goosebumps? Tell us in the comments below.