Five Nights at Freddy’s is an upcoming horror film about killer animatronics at an abandoned pizza place, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. It’s based on a hit horror video game created by Scott Cawthon but has obvious comparisons to the pizza entertainment franchise Chuck E. Cheese. The establishment is aware of this phenomenon and is trying to exploit it.
If You Can’t Beat Them, Parody Them
With Five Nights at Freddy’s hitting theaters this Halloween, it’d make sense for Chuck E. Cheese to take advantage of this golden marketing opportunity. Even those who have never played the games will acknowledge this Blumhouse horror film’s striking similarities to their operations. So, the company decided to host a special Halloween event this October: Five Nights of Fun.
This event’s campaign featured a poster similar to Five Nights at Freddy’s. The clues can be seen in the title and the framing of the Chuck E. Cheese characters. It looks like an accurate parody of the film based on the video games loosely based on Chuck E. Cheese.
Avoiding The Obvious
The question might arise of why Chuck E. Cheese didn’t work directly with Universal Pictures, Blumhouse, and Scott Cawthon for a coordinated marketing campaign. While it is true that the Cheese brand wouldn’t have to pay for a deal if they were doing parody, there’s another reason that the pizza chain wouldn’t go this route. The family-oriented environment doesn’t want to be established with a PG-13 horror film.
The last thing families want to think about when entering Chuck E. Cheese is the animatronics on display coming to life and killing the kids. Associating the brand with such a film would not bode well for business. This is evident by how the poster is framed more bright and colorful than creepy and dark like the horror game and movie.
What The CEO Said
Chuck E. Cheese’s CEO David McKillips responded to the comparison when reached out to by Popverse. He responded, “Chuck E. Cheese inspiring parodies — and even full length feature films – means we are still a mainstay in the cultural zeitgeist. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we wanted in on the fun this Halloween during our annual Boo-Tacular event.”
He also echoed the obvious reasons for wanting to make the event more of the company’s thing than one associated with Five Nights at Freddy’s. He continued, “But of course, as with everything Chuck E. Cheese, we kept it PG and fun for the whole family. Our focus is everyday fun – this just happens to be Five Nights in a row! And the original purple guy, Mr. Munch is super excited!”
Taking Advantage of the Hype
So, the CEO mostly gave a wink when addressing the relationship between the company and Five Nights at Freddy’s. Considering the franchise can take advantage of the hype without directly involving the studio, it’s a smart business decision. It’s more of an in-joke for the parents and teens who get drug along to Chuck E Cheese by the littlest ones of the family.
Five Nights at Freddy’s will be hitting theaters on October 27, 2023. The story revolves around a security guard of a long-dead pizza establishment, making sure the animatronics of the building won’t kill anybody by keeping an eye on the security cameras. The film comes from Universal Studios and Blumhouse Productions. Jason Blum and Scott Cathon are producing, and the cast includes Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, Piper Rubio, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Matthew Lillard.
- Chuck E. Cheese held a Halloween event with striking similarities to Five Nights at Freddy’s.
- Chuck E. Cheese CEO stated the company’s desire for PG-rated parody.
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