'Friday the 13th' Legal Battle Will Potentially Resolve by Halloween

Despite being one of the most famous franchises in the world of horror, the Friday the 13th series has faced a number of troubles that prevented a new film from being developed. In the wake of a legal settlement regarding the ownership of various elements of the films, fans could have confirmation about the series' future on October 31st.

Director Sean Cunningham secured rights to the original film's title and hired screenwriter Victor Miller to flesh out the slasher in the late '70s. The 1980 film became a massive success, with Cunningham retaining the rights to the title. The recent legal battle saw a judge granting Miller ownership over the original script, with Cunningham allowed to either accept this ruling or file for an appeal.

Entertainment attorney Larry Zerner, who starred in Friday the 13th Part III, offered insight on the deadline Cunningham faces with the current ruling.

larry zerner friday the 13th part iii

The attorney shared, "For those of you wondering about what's next in the Friday the 13th lawsuit (Horror v. Miller), Sean has until October 31 (irony alert) to file a Notice of Appeal. If no Notice is filed, then they made a deal. If not, the fight continues (for now)."

This settlement could ultimately result in both parties coming to a compromise and move forward with a new film, but things could get much more complicated.

The hockey mask-wearing murderer Jason Voorhees is the defining component of the franchise, despite not appearing until the first sequel, then obtaining his goalie mask in the third film. This means that Miller could potentially be able to use the title to develop sequels, yet Cunningham would still retain the rights to the character of Jason, preventing the killer from appearing in the films.

Conversely, Cunningham could make movies featuring Voorhees while potentially being prohibited from using the "Friday the 13th" title. As evidenced by Jason X and Freddy vs. Jason, the Friday the 13th title isn't a requirement for a film to become a success in the franchise.

The last film in the series was the 2009 reboot, leaving fans to wait nearly a decade without a new installment. The series, along with the Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street series, became the defining slasher titles of the '80s. Interestingly, the last Halloween film to hit theaters was also in 2009, with the last A Nightmare on Elm Street film debuting in 2010.

Hitting theaters this Friday is a long-awaited sequel in the Halloween franchise, which is estimated to take in nearly $100 million worldwide. The success of that film could see studios take a more active interest in reviving '80s franchises, Friday the 13th included.

Stay tuned for details on the future of the series.

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[H/T Bloody Disgusting]