On the heels of the 2018 Halloween reboot becoming the highest grossing slasher of all-time, the internet lit up over possibilities of another famous slasher franchise. Basketball great, and noted horror fan, Lebron James is in talks to produce the first new Friday the 13th film in nearly 10 years. Deadline reports that it has “confirmed that Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment and LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment are in talks to bring Friday the 13th back to the big screen.”
According to the Deadline report, Victor Miller, who recently reacquired US rights to the original 1980 screenplay, offered the film to Vertigo and SpringHill so they could bring it to Warner Bros, who produced the 2009 film. Short are the memories in Hollywood, as just last year Paramount pulled the plug on the Platinum Dunes’ Friday reboot after the failure of Rings. However, this still leaves open the question of what form a new film would take.
With the Friday IP hacked into more pieces than a slasher victim, it’s legitimate to question what a reboot would look like. You can read our previous coverage for the details, but the short version is that Miller now owns the original screenplay and its corresponding US distribution rights. However, Sean Cunningham still retains foreign rights. In addition, among the things not settled by Miller’s lawsuit are ownership of the Friday the 13th franchise trademark and the fully developed Jason Voorhees character.
So let’s get the easy part out of the way. The trademark actually belongs to New Line Cinema, making Warner Bros a very likely home for the horror property. In addition, Deadline reports that Warner also owns some foreign rights in the franchise, which could solve the distribution problem. The remaining question, therefore, is whether the project would include Jason as he’s known today.
Despite the lack of a writer and director, Variety speculates that it will “feature the goalie-mask wearing mass murderer.” What we know for sure, however, is that if Warner is to acquire rights to this version of the character, it can’t get them from Miller. However, if New Line owns the name and foreign distribution rights, it may have rights to the character through some prior agreement with Cunningham. Between that, and the story elements in the original screenplay, Warner could be poised to reboot the franchise to some much needed fanfare.
Meanwhile, conclusions are premature as Cunningham, naturally, plans to appeal his loss. That said, $100m divides up a lot of ways, with even a small percentage results in a substantial payday. As the saying goes, the bottom line is the bottom line. There could be enough money at stake to force everyone back to the bargaining table to work out a deal.