Goosebumps 2 just got a little more interesting. A new report states that Jack Black, who starred in the first Goosebumps as creator R.L. Stine, may not return for the sequel. Sony has brought on writer Rob Lieber (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) to pen a new version of the script, which reportedly won't feature Black's character. This is just one of several versions of the Goosebumps 2 script that Sony is considering.
At the present time, there's no actual deal in place for Jack Black to return in Goosebumps 2 as R.L. Stine, but sources say it's possible he could return, assuming his schedule allows for it. But this new script being worked on by Rob Lieber may be for reasons that go beyond scheduling. Jack Black is said to make $6 to $8 million per movie these days. Since Sony is looking to bring down the budget for Goosebumps 2, which had previously been titled Goosebumps: Horrorland, it would make sense to not bring back a star who commands such a high salary.
The other interesting thing to note here is the fact that there are "several circulating" scripts for Goosebumps 2 at Sony right now. So even though Rob Lieber is writing a new draft, there's no guarantee his story will be the one that moves forward. Other versions of the script are said to be based on other popular Goosebumps books from R.L. Stine. Darren Lemke (Turbo) was previously attached to write the screenplay. So it really sounds like things are pretty up in the air right now for the sequel, in terms of the direction it ultimately goes in.
Goosebumps made $150.2 million worldwide, which isn't bad for a family-friendly movie of that nature. However, since the movie was made for a reported $58 million production budget, that cut into the potential profits. So there's room to make money on a sequel, but Sony is understandably trying to bring the costs down for the sequel. They need to weigh out whether or not Jack Black's salary is worth it, as his name could help bring some attention to Goosebumps 2. Then again, since these movies are being aimed at families, his star power may not be totally necessary.
The Goosebumps sequel was originally given a September 21, 2018, release date. However, as Variety's report notes, it may be difficult for Sony to hit that date now, given the fact that they are still working out the direction of the script. As it stands, Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens), who directed the first Goosebumps movie, is still attached to direct the sequel. Deborah Forte and Neal H. Moritz, who produced the first movie, are also coming back for the sequel. We'll be sure to keep you up to date as more information on Goosebumps 2 is made available.