'Smile' producers set teen slasher 'Clown in a Cornfield' as next horror film

The producers of 2022 horror hit Smile have set their next terrifying project, and it's one you'll want to keep an eye on. Deadline reports that Smile production company Temple Hill Entertainment and distributor Protagonist Pictures have teamed up for Clown in a Cornfield, an adaptation of Adam Cesare's award-winning slasher novel of the same name, and worldwide distribution sales are set to begin in the coming days.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil filmmaker Eli Craig is set to direct the project from a script by Carter Blanchard (Steelheart) adapting Cesare's novel. The cast for the project isn't in place, but the novel offers a teen-driven story that could prove to be a launching pad for several young stars to showcase their talents.

“We love Eli Craig’s brand of scary fun and are thrilled to be working with him on this terrifying slasher adaptation that is both timely and timeless,” Temple Hill producers said.

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Clown In A Cornfield Cover
Clown In A Cornfield Cover

Clown In A Cornfield Cover Photo: HarperTeen

Released in 2020, Clown in a Cornfield follows Quinn Maybrook, newly arrived from Philadelphia to the sleepy Midwestern town of Kettle Springs, Missouri. Built around the local corn syrup factory, Kettle Springs' unofficial mascot is Frendo the Clown, the face of the now-defunct corn syrup brand whose creepy image still has a major presence in town celebrations. As she tries to settle into her new home and make some new friends, Quinn soon finds that Frendo is much more than a strange, outdated mascot. Menacing figures are appearing in Kettle Springs, wearing clown masks, and ready to kill.

Clown in a Cornfield won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Young Adult Novel in 2020 after debuting to critical acclaim. A sequel, Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives, landed in bookstores over the summer, continuing the saga of Quinn and the creepy clown who haunts the lives of her friends and loved ones. According to Deadline, a third installment in the book series is now on its way, giving producers plenty of fodder for a franchise if the first film works out.

Smile premiered to quite a bit of buzz at Fantastic Fest last month, before hitting theaters and earning nearly $200 million (and counting) worldwide.

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