Netflix has acquired Leigh Janiak‘s Fear Street trilogy and plans to release the three interconnected films one month apart from each other as part of a themed programming initiative the streamer is calling “The Summer of Fear” according to Deadline, which broke the news.
The Fear Street movies were part of an ambitious plan originally hatched by 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment that would draw on the popularity of R.L. Stine‘s beloved book series, which is much scarier than the author’s younger-skewing Goosebumps books. In fact, I’m currently typing this story on a desk covered in Fear Street books — Sunburn, Party Summer and The Dead Lifeguard — as I’d planned to write a horror movie set at the beach during this pandemic, to no avail.
Anyway, Fox got acquired by Disney, and suddenly, release dates became hard to come by. Once theaters closed due to the pandemic, it created an even bigger logjam on the release calendar. Fear Street skews too old for Disney’s family-friendly Disney+ service, and while I think these movies might’ve thrived on Hulu, where audiences have embraced Blumhouse’s Into the Dark and genre shows like Light as a Feather, I understand why Netflix and its deep pockets may have represented the best path forward for everyone.
This way, Janiak and the team at Chernin ensure the greatest number of eyeballs on their genre trilogy, which Fear Street fans such as myself have been waiting for for 25 years. Janiak has already wrapped all three films, which feature Gillian Jacobs, Ashley Zukerman, Sadie Sink, Kiana Madeira, Charlene Amoia, Ryan Simpkins and Fred Hechinger. Sink is one of the young stars of Netflix’s Stranger Things, which gives the streamer an added marketing hook.
I would’ve loved to have seen the Fear Street movies released one week after another this October, but I assume Netflix already assigned those release dates to other genre films and understand why the streamer would want to wait until next summer to make an event of the trilogy’s release. My hopes aren’t exactly high — I wasn’t a fan of Janiak’s debut film, among other reasons — but you can best believe that deep down in this fanboy’s cold, dark heart, I’ll be rooting for this one to succeed like few other projects I write about it.
In the meantime, while we wait for it to be next summer for so many reasons, click here for our list of the best horror movies you can watch on Netflix right now.