In 2011, a film adaptation based on The School for Good and Evil series had reportedly been considered by studios. Shortly after the publication of the first book of the series, Roth Films partnered with Jane Startz Productions to acquire rights to produce a film based on the book. Universal Pictures won the auction in a seven-figure deal for book and scriptwriting fees. Roth, Startz and Palak Patel were appointed producers and Chainani and Malia Scotch Marmo were recruited to write the screenplay, though the former was only writing the initial two drafts. In July 2015, Chainani stated he and Marmo finished writing the script. After the film languished in development hell,Netflix purchased the rights in 2017 with a new team that included David Magee and Laura Solon as screenwriters. In 2020, Paul Feig joined as director and other crew members were disclosed: Roth, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Startz, Laura Fischer and Feig as producers; and Zack Roth, Patricia Riggens and Chainani as executive producers.Feig, who assisted with writing the script, stated “once you direct things that you write, … you almost write like you’re in the editing room”. When the studio or producers requested that a certain thing be explained in the script and the writers suggested including it using dialogue, Feig knew that it was unneeded as “once you see two people … looking at each other in that emotion, you just feel it”; they retained the lines, however, in case audiences during test screenings did not understand that part.
The film was initially slated for release in Christmas 2017.In December 2020, Chainani revealed the film is set to be released in 2022.