Disney is synonymous with kid-friendly programming throughout the whole run of the studio, it’s just how the Mouse House rolls. But as Disney+ continues growing and the content arms race heats up to ridiculous levels to satisfy the need of users who want unlimited offerings, there is a bit of divergence in what the studio puts out in terms of programming. And things might be taking a bit of a different turn with the announcement from Variety that Disney has picked up something of a horror series, going for a bit more scares than we’ve seen in the past. They are going to be developing a live-action Goosebumps show set around the themes of the book franchise. While not a full-out blood and guts horror, this definitely has the chance to be one of the scarier offerings on the Disney+ platform.
The Goosebumps series on Disney+ will take its theme from the R.L. Stine book series of the same name. It apparently will follow a group of teenagers who accidentally unleash a spate of supernatural forces onto their unsuspecting town. When things start getting totally out of hand, they have to work together to close the portal and rid the town of the things that go bump in the night. And there will be a larger world-building aspect to the series when the teenagers find out that their parents may have a history with similar forces, letting on that there are bigger things at play here. It could be the scariest Disney+ offering yet.
Heading up the Goosebumps series on Disney+ will be Nick Stoller and Rob Letterman. They will team up as executive producers on the show and serve as writers as well. Stoller has directed movies like Neighbors, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, and most recently worked on the series Friends from College. This is a good sign for the possible comedic value of the new show with his work definitely trending in that direction. And Letterman has a bit more of the kid-friendly vibe having helmed Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Gulliver’s Travels.
And along with those movies, Letterman has experience with this franchise as well. He directed the 2015 Goosebumps film (not available on Disney+) which was a live-action adaptation. That one took a more meta view to the universe, with Jack Black actually playing a version of R.L. Stine himself. In that story, Stine realizes that the monsters he creates in his stories actually come to life in the real world. This means he has to keep his identity a secret while also containing the monsters in the books themselves.
The Goosebumps film did well enough at the box office earning $158 million on its roughly $60 million dollar budget. And it was something of a critical hit as well, scoring 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. There eventually was a sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, but none of the talent on the first one returned for that flick. Again, this new series will be the only one from the franchise on Disney+.
The R.L. Stine Goosebumps series is among the most popular and most sold book franchises ever with more than 400 million units sold since it was first published in 1992. There have been 235 different titles printed over the years with spin-offs as well. There was a series that came out on Fox in 1995 which ran for four seasons. We will have more news on this Disney+ series as it comes out.