Last year, Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller ignited an ongoing legal battle with the original film's producer-director Sean Cunningham's Horror Inc. over the rights to the character of Jason Voorhees and the slasher franchise as a whole. It's all pretty messy, and we'll get into the nuts and bolts of the lawsuit below, but let's just say here that it's been a nightmare. That said, today we have word that the legal battle may be ending soon.
The story goes that last year Victor Miller aimed to take advantage of a copyright law that allowed him to reclaim ownership of his original Friday the 13th screenplay now that 35 years have passed since it was initially produced. But Cunningham and company said that Miller wrote Friday the 13th as a work-for-hire and that Miller's termination notice was ineffective. Cut to this past September when Miller won the rights to the supernatural slasher and Cunningham filed a notice of appeal. And now we're up to speed. And today we hear that a settlement may be happening as Cunningham has withdrawn his bid since he knows his chances on the win are small, and that an appeal would take another few years to process. So it might just be in everyone's best interests to settle at this point.
As a horror fan, I cannot tell you what kind of headaches this lawsuit has caused me so I'm overjoyed to hear that it may all be coming to a close sooner rather than later. I mean, not to complain or anything here, but not only do I have to write up each new development, but it pains me to do so every time as it means that we are further and further away from getting a new entry in my favorite slasher franchise. And not only that, but this back and forth between Miller and Cunningham has placed even Gun Media's Friday the 13th: The Game in semi-limbo, preventing the team behind the scenes from releasing new content. Urgh.
That said, at least we know that once all is said and done there are more than a ton of filmmakers (and basketball players?) just waiting in the wings to take on the franchise once more. For instance, NBA star LeBron James (yes, that LeBron James) and his SpringHill Entertainment company are apparently in talks with Vertigo Entertainment to produce a reboot, and Blumhouse's Ryan Turek has made it clear that he'd jump at the chance to take on the series. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather see Blumhouse take a shot at rebooting the franchise over LeBron James and his team once the dust settles. After all, Blumhouse recently rebooted John Carpenter's Halloween to the joy of (most) fanboys, so why not tackle Jason next?
I guess we'll have to wait and see which side of the Blumhouse / LeBron James court the Friday the 13th ball lands in once Miller and Cunnigham stop fighting like Freddy vs. Jason. We'll let you know when we hear more. This update comes to us via Jimmy Champane over on YouTube.