We’re currently in an IP-obsessed era of entertainment, where it seems like in order to get a new project greenlit, it needs to be based on existing material or an easily recognizable brand. This means, of course, there are going to be some people who know a hell of a lot more about a story than the general public at large. I say this as someone who wrote nearly 10,000 words about the lore of Barbie, providing information about the doll’s history that the vast majority of people who bought tickets to Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” didn’t know ahead of time.
However, just as it would have been foolish of me to expect that “Barbie” address the totality of the doll’s 60-year legacy, it is foolish for “Five Nights at Freddy’s” fans to expect the film to cater to the die-hard fandom and only the die-hard fandom. In order for a film to be successful, it needs to be accessible beyond the confines of the people most passionate about the subject, and it also needs to thrive in a new medium.
Adaptations of popular works often omit major moments or make big changes to the story/pacing/characters, because it’s better for the medium of film. These changes aren’t always a good thing (I’ll never forgive changing the ending of “My Sister’s Keeper”), but making these changes isn’t inherently a sign of “not caring about the source material.” In the case of “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” game creator Scott Cawthon made the film’s writers completely start over with a new script at one point, so whatever ends up on screen has the creator’s seal of approval. The “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie has to appeal to the general public in addition to the most dedicated fans. That’s a hell of a tightrope to walk.