Fans have been waiting more than a decade for a new entry into the Friday the 13th franchise, with at least part of the delays being connected to the ongoing legal battle between director Sean Cunningham and writer Victor Miller, but a new wrinkle has emerged, as Cunningham has now filed a lawsuit against studios Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This new lawsuit alleges that the studios have miscalculated the profits earned by 2009's Friday the 13th and that the studios haven't been transparent in reporting profits, claiming that the studios have "systematically misaccounted" contingent compensation from the franchise.
The Hollywood Reporter detailed the lawsuit, "The Friday the 13th franchise has grossed more than $129 million, according to the complaint, but Cunningham says audits revealed there's been improper deductions of fees and bonuses, undervalued licenses, an underreporting of merchandising revenue and pay TV income, and on and on. He also complaints that Paramount and Warner have redacted their 'package' license agreements — preventing him from fully understanding the flow of money. He alleges that defendants' 'withheld documents would reveal that the Pictures' distribution was structured to inequitably advance the interest of Defendants and favored third parties.'"
The 2009 film served as a reboot, which blended elements from the first three films into one experience. A new sequel in the series was being developed as recently as 2017, but when Paramount scrapped its planned release date for that project, it was merely a nail in the coffin of the franchise, as the series hasn't even earned rumored plans for a new film.
Following the success of Halloween, Sean Cunningham secured the rights to the title "Friday the 13th" in the late '70s and ultimately hired Victor Miller to write the script for the adventure. The series would go on to earn a staggering eight installments throughout the '80s, amassing a total of 12 films to date.
The lawsuit that Miller filed against Cunningham was inspired by the fact that the writer takes ownership over various unique plot points that he created independently from Cunningham's contributions, as he sought ownership of rights to the franchise. The courts ruled in his favor with the most recent legal battle, only for Cunningham to appeal the decision. The pair were set to head back into court last spring, only for the coronavirus pandemic to delay those proceedings.
Stay tuned for updates on the future of the Friday the 13th franchise.
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