With the Friday the 13th franchise currently in legal shambles, what’s next for our favorite masked slasher?
Fans of hockey-masked serial killer Jason Voorhees and all things Friday the 13th have been pretty amped-up as of late. Last year, IllFonic released a fan favorite Friday the 13th video game that incorporated many characters, locations, and scenarios from the original movie series in which fans can move around in and play, all while battling the towering terror first hand. Then this past January, Blue Wizard Digital released Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle, which can be played as a mobile game or on Steam. For a while, there was even talk about a possible Friday the 13th television series. Now fans are told that all production of anything and everything Jason is put on hold. Why the sudden breaks you ask? Well, here’s the just of it.
Original Friday the 13th movie producer and director Sean Cunningham is currently in a legal dispute over ownership rights with Victor Miller, who was the writer of the original Friday the 13th film. It seems that a clause in the official Copyright Act deems that an author can revert ownership of rights to their work after a period of 35 years. Considering that Victor Miller originally sold his Friday the 13th written work for $9,500 and the series has since gone on to generate 12 films, 4 video games, music CDs, books, comic books, documentaries, posters, toys and more, the franchise is now worth millions of dollars more than what he was originally paid. It only makes sense that Miller would want a larger piece of the pie considering he created the source material in the first place. Unfortunately, instead of hashing out a deal with Miller, Sean Cunningham and his lawyers are fighting against Miller to hold on to 100% of the cut. Until everything is aired out in court and a judge makes a final say on who is the official head camp counselor, no more slashy cutty shenanigans are allowed for any proposed Friday the 13th anything.
The good news? Although nothing new can be released, companies with ties to the Friday the 13th properties are still working on fun new projects (on paper) and are itching to hit the ground running once all the legal squabbling is finally put to bed. Remember that 2009 Friday the 13th movie remake that was actually pretty good? Well, producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller of Platinum Dunes are putting their hats in the ring for another go at the re-branded movie run. Cool, huh? We also don’t yet know how this plays into the current legal dilemma, but Funko is set to release Jason Voorhees Cereal, complete with mini Jason vinyl toy inside. Mezco Toys is also set to release a Jason jack-in-the-box toy later this fall. As for the video games? Both recently released video games had future content plans for their series. Neither video game developer can release said content for now, but they will still continue to keep track of site maintenance and bug fixes over the course of the court trials. So, for now, we can only bide our time and know he’s still out there, waiting…