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Legal Rights Are Why We’re Not Seeing New Friday the 13th Films

Navigating the complications surrounding the rights to Friday the 13th is as puzzling as some of the franchise’s most puzzling plot decisions. Upon Paramount’s purchasing the rights in 2013, all seemed well. Why aren’t we currently awaiting yet another sequel starring the Crystal Lake slasher, then? Producers of the 2009 reboot from Platinum Dunes, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, point to legal difficulties.

During SXSW, Fuller and Form spoke to Rooster Teeth’s Eric Vespe about their film, A Quiet Place. In discussing the new reboot that Paramount cancelled last year, Fuller notes,

“We never got a clear answer from Paramount as to why that movie got shut down. I think at the end of the day that administration, which is no longer there, didn’t see horror as a viable part of what they were doing. Also they were coming off of Rings and that didn’t help.

“For studio heads who are not fans of horror there’s not a tremendous amount of glory in it other than the financial. A lot of these studios want to make big movies with big movie stars and that administration could never get excited about it. I think the rights now have reverted back to New Line.”

Form chimes in next, adding a reminder about the Victor Miller lawsuit. Miller, the first film’s scribe who’s credited with creating several characters, is presently in a legal battle to reclaim ownership (via THR).

Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs Jason Courtesy of Paramount

Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs Jason Courtesy of Paramount

Were another film to receive the green light, Form and Fuller are at a loss as to who would be the gatekeepers.

Form: Is it Warner Bros.? Is it Paramount?

Fuller: It’s a complicated jumble, but I have looked into it. I think it’s New Line. The rights have expired, or they expire next month, and they revert back to New Line, I think.

Ultimately, they conclude, nothing can take shape until the Miller lawsuit is resolved. The situation is unfortunate for the franchise, as horror has regained popular culture dominance since its absence. The meteoric success of 2017’s IT and the continuous expansion of James Wan’s Conjuring franchise evince the return of R-rated horror to the mainstream. Excitement surrounding the forthcoming release of the Halloween reboot from David Gordon Green and Danny McBride must have someone, somewhere aching to get the ball rolling on Jason Voorhees’ return to the big screen.

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