Five Nights at Freddy's movie

On the Bright Side, ‘FNAF’ Is the Biggest Opening Ever for Horror Film Directed by a Woman

The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie is finally here, and it’s … quite a mess of a film. On the bright side, FNAF was also the biggest opening ever for a woman directed horror film.

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Republican Christian Scott Cawthon created the FNAF franchise, which became one of the most successful video game series ever. For most of the games, you work as a security guard at Freddy’s Pizzeria, a Chuck E. Cheese parody, and must watch out for killer animatronics. FNAF became a pop culture juggernaut thanks to YouTubers like Markiplier and MatPat of Game Theory fame. As we’ve talked about, the latter actually has a cameo in the film.

Despite that popularity, the movie went through a lot of development hell. It was first announced all the way back in 2015, right after Warner Bros. Pictures acquired the rights. Roy Lee, Seth Grahame-Smith, and David Katzenberg were originally going to produce the film, along with Gil Kenan (Ghostbusters: Afterlife) as director.

As Deadline reports, plans for that fell hard, however, as the film was moved to Blumhouse Productions in 2017. Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter movies, signed on to direct. Complications came up, scripts were trashed, and people left the project, leaving it in a limbo state for a very long time. Sometime in October 2022, Emma Tammi became the film’s final director, and the movie launched on October 25, 2022.

Tammi does not yet have many film credits to her name, but she’s quickly making a splash in Hollywood. Her previous works include The Wind (2020), Election Day: Lens Across America (2017), and Into the Dark (2020). Her latest film, FNAF, is doing pretty darn well at the box office. According to NBC, it smashed a ton of records on opening weekend. It made $52.6 million internationally and $80 million domestically for a whopping total of $132.6 million. It beat Halloween (2018) for the biggest opening Blumhouse Productions has ever had.

FNAF is also the biggest horror film opening ever for any female director. This is huge because women directors in Hollywood are still sorely underrepresented. There’s this running idea that female-directed projects simply aren’t profitable to take a risk on, even if there’s nothing inherently gendered about the project. Tammi is helping to smash that myth down.

On the flip side, however, FNAF is being slammed hard by critics everywhere. It currently holds a pitifully low 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. I can’t say I’m too surprised, as you really cannot do much with the source material. I may get hate for this, but there was never an actual good story with FNAF to begin with. Despite that, we can at least celebrate the success of a pioneering woman.

(featured image: Blumhouse Productions)

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Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson (he/they) writes about media criticism, race studies, intersectional feminism, and left-wing politics. He has been working with digital media and writing about pop culture since 2014. He enjoys video games, movies, and TV, and often gets into playful arguments with friends over Shonen anime and RPGs. He has experience writing for The Mary Sue,, Bunny Ears, Static Media, and The Crimson White. His Twitter can be found here: