Goosebumps was an unexpected delight, blending family-fun scares into an action adventure plot. For those who haven’t seen it yet, the story involves a group of teenagers accidentally unleashing all the monsters from the books of reclusive author R.L. Stine (Jack Black), and needing to recapture them. However, now it looks like Sony is trying to keep costs on the sequel low by possibly cutting Black.
According to Variety, the studio has hired Rob Lieber (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) to pen the latest draft of the screenplay, and that draft doesn’t include the Stine character. Since the first film grossed $150 million worldwide but cost about $58 million to make, the studio is looking to cut costs, and they see Black’s $6-8 million salary as a good place to start. There is currently no deal in place for him to return.
However, Variety reports that other scripts do include the Stine character, and sources say Black could come on board if his schedule allows. All of this smacks of trying to negotiate through the press with the tightfisted Sony trying to keep costs down and sending a message that while they would like Black back, they’re don’t need him back. And while that’s technically true (Black was good, but the film’s success is due more to the Goosebumps brand and the clever execution), it’s still a crummy way to go about your business.
Goosebumps 2 was slated for a September 2018 release date, but with neither a script nor a cast in place, it’s looking more and more likely that Sony will have to push the release date back. It appears that director Rob Letterman is still slated to return to the director’s chair.