It’s no secret that Five Nights at Freddy’s is doing unexpectedly well. After breaking multiple box office records, the film also had the biggest five-day debut on the Peacock streaming service. Now, video game creator Scott Cawthon has responded to the film’s runaway success.
“Thanks everyone for making opening weekend such a big success,” Cawthon wrote on Reddit. “It was beyond my wildest dreams. I do read the comments and critiques, so while I’m glad most people had a great time at the movies, I’m definitely paying attention, and I wanted you all to know that.”
Five Nights at Freddy’s is based on the 2014 video game that sees players take control of Mike Schmidt, the new security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, who must survive the night shift while murderous animatronic characters roam the restaurant.
“If you will remember, I planned to go incognito with my glasses (and a beard), and sit in on several showings,” Cawthon shared. “No-one recognized me, as expected, but I did have some funny encounters.”
He added: “On Thursday I went to the very first showing at 2pm. Not many people were there. But just before the movie started a teenage boyfriend and girlfriend walked in; the girlfriend was dressed as Toy Chica, and they sat right next to me. She was obviously a super-fan (him not so much), and I heard her say as she walked in, ‘What if Scott Cawthon was in here?’ A few seconds later after they sat down, I heard her whisper, ‘That kind of looks like Scott Cawthon’, gesturing to me. He glanced over at me then whispered back to her, ‘Dear, he’s old.’ To that I say – Two things can be true at the same time.”
Hilariously, his encounters with ‘superfans’ only get more cringey. “Later that day I went to another showing, and five super-fans all came and sat right next to me,” he said. “I say they were super-fans because they were all dressed up. They sat next to me, talking to each other for a few minutes, then they all casually stood up, scooted a few seats away from me, and sat back down. I swear I put on deodorant… maybe not enough?”
“Friday evening’s showing was the best,” he added. “It was a packed crowd and I got to hear everyone cheer and clap. That was a lot of fun. I got up to go to the restroom at one point and I walked past a group of teenagers in the front row. One of them said ‘Hey, Dad.’ Not my son, obviously, but I did reply – ‘Hey son.’ So somewhere out there I have a new honorary son.”
Perhaps the best story came when Cawthon encountered a young fan who liked his shirt. “I went to another showing Saturday evening,” he said. “I wore a Security Breach T-shirt. I was standing in-line behind a young woman in a Freddy hat waiting for popcorn and drinks, and she turned and looked at me and just said, ‘I like the shirt!’ That made my night.”
IGN’s Five Nights at Freddy’s review gave it 4/10 and said: “Scott Cawthon helped produce this big-screen adaptation of his own indie horror phenomenon, but you wouldn’t really guess as much. Expanding the game’s simple, primal premise with a surfeit of character melodrama – at last, we learn the tragic backstory of security guard Mike Schmidt! – it’s a Five Nights at Freddy’s that labors under the bizarre assumption that the loyal fanbase wants a lot of extraneous plot surrounding the fun-center horror. Switch off the monitor, slam the door, or just play the game instead.”
Want to read more about Five Nights at Freddy’s? Check out how Five Nights at Freddy’s fans reacted to the movie as well as why the film’s ending is the perfect twist.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.