Know what’s really hot in Hollywood right now besides Star Wars and superheroes? Genre storytelling, and nostalgia. Just look at the success Warner Bros. had with It, and the buzz Netflix is enjoying right now thanks to Stranger Things.
To that end, Paramount Players is gathering around the campfire for a feature adaptation of the beloved Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark?, hiring red-hot horror scribe Gary Dauberman to pen the script, the Tracking Board has exclusively learned.
Matt Kaplan will produce the movie with Dauberman, and plot details are being kept under wraps.
Paramount Players is a new division at Paramount Pictures that is led by Awesomeness founder Brian Robbins. In a June statement, Paramount chief Jim Gianopulos said that Paramount Players would “focus, in distinctive ways, on contemporary talent and properties for young audiences while drawing upon the vast resources of the Viacom brands.”
Nickelodeon is, of course, one of those Viacom brands, along with MTV, Comedy Central and BET, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? was one of the key shows from the network’s memorable SNICK lineup in the ’90s.
The show revolved around a group of teenagers who referred to themselves as The Midnight Society. Every week, at a secret location in the woods, one members would tell a scary story to the rest of the group, some of which were based on public domain fairy tales, short stories or urban legends.
The original Canadian horror/fantasy-themed anthology series was created by D.J. MacHale and Ned Kandel, and was picked up by Nickelodeon in 1991, though it didn’t debut until SNICK’s launch on Saturday, Aug. 15, 1992. The show ran until April 1996, and a revival series with new writers, directors, writers and cast members was produced by Nickelodeon from 1999 to 2000.
Next up for Dauberman, who wrote Annabelle, Annabelle Creation and the horror blockbuster It, is The Nun, which is a further extension of the Conjuring universe. He’s also producing New Line’s The Children, which is currently in production. Dauberman is represented by ICM Partners, Industry Entertainment and attorney Eric Suddleson.
With It, Get Out, Split and Annabelle: Creation among this year’s most successful films, Paramount is betting the horror craze won’t die down anytime soon, as the studio just hired Starry Eyes filmmakers Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer to direct a remake of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. I grew up as a huge fan of both that film and Are You Afraid of the Dark? (and R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series, which is in development at 20th Century Fox), so here’s hoping horror stays hot over the next couple years.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief