We are experiencing the gold rush of reboots, where seemingly any old intellectual property can be mined for nostalgic worth. At the same time, the previous decade saw a horror movie boom, with a years-long string of critical and financial success from the genre. The stars have seemingly aligned for the inevitable return of one of the genre’s titans: Jason Voorhees.
Unluckily, the F13 intellectual property has been held up for some time now by litigation woes. It’s a long, complicated conflict. Click here to check out my more in-depth breakdown of the whole ordeal. Otherwise, here’s the Spark Notes edition: series creator Sean Cunningham and screenwriter of the first Friday film, Victor Miller, have been tangling over the rights to his initial screenplay. As it stands, Miller has successfully managed to win those rights thanks to a law that allows writers back the rights to their work (at least here in America) after a certain number of year. Meanwhile, Cunningham maintains the rights to the rest of the films in the series.
The result has torn a rift in the franchise. Miller can now do as he pleases with any of the material found in his original screenplay. Essentially, he could remake the first F13 film and utilize such touchstone elements as Camp Crystal Lake, Pamela Voorhees, and child Jason who drowned in the lake. Unfortunately, the iconic hockey mask so often associated with the Crystal Lake Killer didn’t appear until the third entry in the series, which Miller did NOT write. That stays with Cunningham.
After all the back-and-forth, the time is coming near now for a final decision. Entertainment lawyer (and F13 alumn himself) Larry Zerner, who’s been following the lawsuit in depth, took to Twitter to let it be known that the final court date has officially been scheduled for February 13, 2020 at 10am.
You can check out Zerner’s tweet below:
Depending on how things play out, either Miller or Cunningham will have the right to appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court. Still, the chances that any one case will actually be tried by the court are slim to none, seeing is how they only hear a fraction of the cases that get submitted to them. That said, this case has the potential Tito radically change how we here in the states approach ownership of intellectual property should the court opt to try it.
The most likely result is that Miller will maintain the rights to his original script and all its elements. He and Cunningham will have to come together and make a deal that allows both parties access to the entire Friday the 13th mythology with each receiving fair compensation. And it would be to their benefit to get said deal made sooner rather than later. Both are into their old age and the series is continues to demonstrate lucrative intrigue. It’s a win-win for them and for fans who’ve patiently waited for more F13 content!
That’s the latest on the Friday the 13th legal stickiness! What do you make of this whole ordeal? Are you ready to put it behind us so that we can finally get some new movies? Which party do you fall more in line with in terms of the rights issue? Sound off in the comments below and unleash all your thoughts!