How Steven Spielberg Helped Save the 'Child's Play' Franchise in Its Early Years [Exclusive] - Bloody Disgusting
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How Steven Spielberg Helped Save the ‘Child’s Play’ Franchise in Its Early Years [Exclusive]

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We’re still in shock after learning that MGM will be remaking Child’s Play, even though the canonized franchise is alive and well with creators Don Mancini and David Kirschner developing a television series and even more sequels. How the hell did we get here? Well, there’s actually an interesting story behind it. You see, MGM and United Artists were behind the 1988 box office hit Child’s Play, which pulled in $33M in its domestic theatrical run ($74M adjusted for inflation)…

“They immediately ordered a second film because it had done so well and was received so well,” Kirschner tells me. “We were in pre-production and getting everything ready, and I’m on a plane to Cincinnati when Richard Burger (head of production for MGM and United Artists) called. ‘There’s a guy by the name of Christopher Skase at Quintex, they’re buying the company and don’t want to make horror movies,’ he said. I was enraged.”

While the initial news made a young Kirschner irate, his legal team calmed his nerves. “Within 24 hours, everyone in town is going to bidding on this thing,” they told him.

“The phone started ringing like crazy,” he continued, revealing that “one of those phone calls were Steven Spielberg himself,” who was using his weight to help bring Chucky and the Child’s Play franchise to Universal Pictures.

An American Tail became the highest grossing animated film of all time, at the time. Steven (who executive produced the film) said, ‘Look, you made your first film with Universal, just give them your wish list of what you want and I would have done my job in giving them the first crack at it.’ I owe my career to him and that’s still the case today – I went back to them and said, ‘Because of Steven, we’re bringing it to you first,’ and they met almost all of the demands. That’s how we got into the relationship with Universal when five other studios were bidding on it.”

There you have it, folks, the true story on how Chucky was resurrected at Universal Studios after MGM and United Artists had kicked dirt in the face of the horror genre. Now, because MGM/UA made the first film, they are able to remake it and use the name Child’s Play, even though Mancini, Kirschner, and Universal continue to collaborate on canonized sequels and a forthcoming television series that will also bring back Brad Dourif to voice Chucky once again. As for Spielberg, he would eventually work with Chucky by dropping the horror icon into his Ready Player One with a juicy cameo.

Since Universal got behind the franchise, it has spawned six sequels, including last year’s well-received Cult of Chucky, also directed by creator Don Mancini and produced by David Kirschner.

While we wait to see how everything develops, how cool of a story is this?!

Co-founded Bloody Disgusting in 2001. Producer on Southbound, the V/H/S trilogy, SiREN, Under the Bed, and A Horrible Way to Die. Chicago-based. Horror, pizza and basketball connoisseur. Taco Bell daily.


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