Friday the 13th has arrived, which means today is yet another day that a new Friday the 13th movie could have been released. Horror fans have been hankering for more Jason Voorhees for nearly 10 years now, so what, exactly, is the status of the Friday the 13th series? Is there a sequel in development? Can we expect it anytime soon?
It’s a complicated situation, but the short answer is that there isn’t currently a Friday the 13th movie in development. However, that’s mainly due to an ongoing lawsuit, and producer Andrew Form recently said that he hopes to get working on a new film as soon as this situation is settled.
Basically, here’s what’s happening: Victor Miller, the screenwriter of the original Friday the 13th, is trying to reclaim the rights to the franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, as an author, he wants to terminate a grant of rights and get ownership back.
However, director and producer Sean Cunningham contends that Miller wrote Friday the 13th on a work-for-hire basis, and he, therefore, does not have any ability to do this. This legal situation is still unfolding, and it’s actually the reason that there won’t be any future updates to Friday the 13th: The Game, the only piece of Jason content we’ve received since 2009.
A new Friday the 13th movie has been in various stages of development pretty consistently for nearly the past decade. In 2009, Paramount Pictures released a remake titled Friday the 13th, and it actually went over pretty well among horror fans and was fairly profitable. Later that year, a sequel was announced for a 2010 release.
However, about a month later, it was pulled from the schedule, and the following year, it was officially canceled. Later, the producers explained that due to the bad economy, both Paramount and New Line were making fewer movies, and they didn’t seem to see Friday the 13th as a worthwhile investment for now. It didn’t seem like a coincidence that this was around the time that microbudget horror films like Paranormal Activity were making bank, so the idea of producing a slasher sequel that cost nearly $20 million was less enticing than going in this direction.
A few years later, in 2014, we heard that director David Brucker would helm a new Friday the 13th, which at this point had a March 13th, 2015 release. However, in late 2015, Brucker left the project. The release date would subsequently be altered again and again, being moved to 2016 and then 2017. Heading into 2017, it seemed like the release date of October 13, 2017 had been set, and production was going to move forward with director Breck Eisner.
But then Rings was a major box office disappointment, and Paramount subsequently canceled Friday the 13th; it seemed like Rings‘ failure was the reason why, although Paramount obviously didn’t say that themselves. The project went through many different iterations during this time, but at one point, it was going to be a period piece set in the 1980s. There was also an idea to have it be a found-footage movie.
New Line and Warner Bros. are scheduled to get the rights to Friday the 13th back in 2018, but now, the whole franchise is caught up in this messy legal situation with Victor Miller and Sean Cunningham.
Now really is the perfect time for another Friday the 13th, though. For one, horror has been doing phenomenally well lately, with It crushing it at the box office in 2017. Plus, Michael Myers is about to return in a new Halloween this October. 2020 is also the 40th anniversary of Friday the 13th, just as this year is the 40th anniversary of Halloween. Let’s hope the lawsuit can be resolved in time to get a movie out by then.