Friday the 13th Legal Battles Continue to Stall the Franchise

The Friday the 13th franchise is one of the most well-known properties in horror, having delivered audiences 12 movies, a TV series, comic books, and video games over the past 40 years. The last film in the franchise debuted in 2009, which was a reboot of the core concepts of the early films. Given the prominence of the series and how long it's been since we've had a new entry, some fans are holding out hope that there will be a surprising announcement from a major studio that a new installment will be moving forward, though the legal troubles of the rights to the franchise look to be continuing indefinitely.

Entertainment lawyer Larry Zerner, who also starred in Friday the 13th Part III, offered an update on Twitter about the next step in the battle between writer Victor Miller and director Sean S. Cunningham. Despite the court granting ownership of the rights to the original film's script to Miller, Zerner noted that Cunningham was moving forward with the appeal to the decision, which will tie up the development of a new Friday the 13th film for the foreseeable future as that case is resolved.

Director Cunningham aimed to capitalize on the success of Halloween by securing the rights to a holiday for a slasher movie and hiring a writer to develop a film based on the title "Friday the 13th," with Miller ultimately writing the script for the film. The 1980 film was a huge success, earning 10 sequels and a reboot. The biggest legal issue comes down to the concept of adult Jason Voorhees, who became a staple of the series, though this character didn't happen until the second film, which Miller didn't write.

In the years since we've seen a new film in the franchise, various sequels have been rumored as moving forward with development, with the most recent attempt even briefly earning a 2018 release date with casting even having reportedly begun. The project was ultimately pulled from the release schedule and no official progress has been made on a new film.

“Everybody’s trying to settle all the little things and dot the I’s, get the semicolons where they belong, and all that kind of stuff. Who gets what. Who has to give what to whom. So, to me, it’s a nightmare,” Miller shared with IAnthonyD on YouTube. “If you’ve got two sides across the table… this is poker. And you don’t get to say, ‘Well I’ll take half the money and you take half the money.’ That’s not how it works. I can’t be more specific than that.”

Last fall, following the court's decision to grant the rights to the first film to Miller, Lebron James was reported to have been developing a sequel, likely under the assumption that all legal matters were resolved.

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Stay tuned for details on the future of the Friday the 13th franchise.

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