Just when you think things could be getting sorted….
Let’s recap first. For just over two years, no Friday The 13th films have been able to get made because of a legal battle being fought between the original film’s screenwriter/main screenwriter [it depends on whose side you take] Victor Miller and producer Sean S. Cunningham over the U.S. rights to the series. Miller claims that he wrote the entire script to the first film except for the motorcycle cop scene, and therefore ought to take ownership of it now that more than 35 years have passed since its release. But Cunningham reckons that Miller is hugely exaggerating his contribution, and therefore should remain the owner of the series. Not that long ago, it came to court and it ruled in favour of Miller, who now holds the copyright to everything except the cop scene. What makes this rather confusing is that Miller is legally able to make a sequel to Friday The 13th, but he only has the rights to follow up on what was in that original film, and therefore may not actually be able to have the adult slasher Jason in his film, while the result can only be distributed in the United States. And the judge actually declined to make a ruling on who currently owns the character of “adult Jason Voorhees”.
Anyway, soon after that Cunningham filed a notice of appeal against Miller having ownership to the first film’s script, but then withdrew it because some kind of deal was being made. Then it was reported that former basketball star and now producer LeBron James was in talks to produce a reboot of the 1980 original, and us fans began to get rather excited. However, the deal then fell apart for some reason, and Cunningham’s appeal was reinstated last week. Entertainment lawyer/Friday the 13th Part 3 star Larry Zerner responded to this latest update:
“This isn’t the end of the world, but it is disappointing. It may just mean that they need additional time to get a deal done, I think that Victor Miller would probably win the appeal, but I don’t want to wait another two years before they can start making a new Friday the 13th movie.”
Me neither, I mean it’s been ten bloody years now since the last film [and some like to forget that one]. We tend not to go into legal-type stuff on HCF, but this is one story I’ll be maintaining a close eye on.