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It's A Bummer That Two Clones Beat Five Nights At Freddy's To The Movies

After years of false starts, the "Five Nights At Freddy's" movie is finally happening. The first teaser trailer for the long-awaited film adaptation has revealed a number of things that fans have been waiting for, including some shockingly accurate peeks at the film's terrifying animatronics. Boasting a cast that includes Matthew Lillard and Josh Hutcherson, Blumhouse's "FNAF" film looks like the faithful film version that fans have always hoped for. Unfortunately, "Five Nights At Freddy's" has already been beaten to the punch a few times in the last several years by eerily similar movies: "Willy's Wonderland" and "The Banana Splits Movie."


Upon the release of the "FNAF" trailer, some fans had already begun making jokes about the fact that someone else sort of got there first, or at least nodding to the fact that this movie treads similar ground. Others have compared the quality of the effects and the designs of the animatronics — which we've still seen very little of — to those seen in the other two movies.

And unfortunately for the folks who have worked very hard on all of these movies, those fans are kind of right about this. Even though fans have waited a long time to see "Five Nights At Freddy's" make its big screen debut, there's still a feeling of sameness to the new trailer. The following movies are a big reason why.

The Banana Splits Movie feels too close for comfort

"The Banana Splits," for all you youngsters out there, was a children's television show from the 1960s that starred a rock band of anthropomorphic animals. It's filled with the kind of cheesy madcap humor one would expect from the ouvre of Sid & Marty Krofft, but these days it's perhaps best known for being an early directing credit for the late Richard Donner. Oh, and its bangin' theme song.


That's why it was such a surprise when 2019 saw the arrival of "The Banana Splits Movie," a blood-soaked satire that had more in common with "Child's Play" and "FNAF" than the source material. For one major thing, the movie changed the original's guys in costumes into animatronic animals, which kickstarted rumors that the script for this film began life as a rejected "Five Nights At Freddy's" adaptation (this has never been proven). These similarities have led to at least a few fan-made games acting as a crossover between the two properties.

"The Banana Splits Movie" garnered average reviews upon its release in 2019, with the prevailing sentiments towards the film being "boy, this sure feels like a 'FNAF' movie" from fans of the video game series and "who is this for?" from fans of the original "Banana Splits" series. The movie itself isn't particularly memorable, aside from featuring a fun soundtrack from Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump. Otherwise, it felt like the first serious indication that the "Five Nights At Freddy's" movie really needed to get in gear. The "imitators" were already beginning to close in on its territory.


Willy's Wonderland raged in 2021

2021's "Willy's Wonderland" is the more high-profile of the two movies to cramp the style of "Five Nights At Freddy's," and that's largely due to the presence of one man/myth/cultural icon/actual national treasure: Nicolas Cage. The Academy Award-winning actor takes on the role of the Janitor, a wordless protagonist who is tricked into cleaning up a small town pizza joint inhabited by a band of possessed animatronics.


Upon its release, "Willy's Wonderland" was noted for the way it utilized Cage in a role with no dialogue (reportedly by his own suggestion) and was seen as having the potential to become a cult favorite. It's a fun ride, bit it definitely drags a bit, and fans of Cage's more manic performances might be a bit surprised to learn he doesn't do too much aside from play pinball, chug energy drinks, and occasionally stab a monster with a plunger (which rules, to be fair).

More than that, though, it was pointed out that the movie shared a ton of similarities with "FNAF." The writer and director both reportedly claim that these similarities are strictly coincidental, pointing out that the original script for the short film that would become "Willy's Wonderland" was written around the same time as the release of the first game. In other words, this seems like a wild case of parallel thought.


Still, fans of "FNAF" were intrigued by the movie. When its first trailer dropped, some even said that it looked like everything they'd hoped to see from a "Five Nights" movie. Though the new adaptation certainly looks impressive — and has the authenticity of the well-known IP to put butts in seats — it sure feels like "Willy's Wonderland" stole some of the new movie's thunder (whether it meant to or not). Just look at some of the comments regarding the "FNAF" trailer on Reddit to see this phenomenon in action:

u/corey1031d from discussion
Five Nights At Freddy's | Official Teaser

FNAF has to overcome expectations set by different movies

There's no question that fans are excited for the release of "Five Nights At Freddy's." They've waited a long time for this movie to finally come to theaters, and you can bet they'll turn out to see if it lives up to their expectations. If the movie arrives with a PG-13 rating, then you can expect that turnout to rise, as the series' younger fanbase will no doubt be working to convince their parents to take them. At the end of the day, it's doubtful that either "The Banana Splits Movie" or "Willy's Wonderland" will dilute the "Five Nights At Freddy's" brand or hurt the film's bottom line in any meaningful way.


Even so, because the aforementioned films preceded it, it's hard not to watch the teaser trailer without feeling just a bit like we've seen this before. Comparisons are going to be inescapable, which seems like a bummer for the fans who have been invested in these games for so long. Imagine if the "Super Mario Bros. Movie" was in development hell for so long that two other movies came out about plumbers who battle evil turtles. Regardless of the quality of the preceding films, it's wild to remember that someone did this already, and with such a specific premise.


Fans will no doubt still enjoy the "Five Nights At Freddy's" film, but one has to wonder how much more palpable the excitement would be if it hadn't taken so long.