Paramount Retrieves Friday The 13th Rights
Jason Voorhees will stalk and slash again
There's been an eerie silence at Crystal Lake (chi-chi-chi ka-ka-ka) since the 2009 Platinum Dunes Friday The 13th, directed by Marcus Nispel and starring Jared Padalecki. Dunes producer Brad Fuller had hoped to get a new sequel up and running almost immediately, following the rebootquel's respectable box office, but he later lamented it was dead in the water, with nothing doing at studio New Line. Now we know the reason why: there were tortuous rights problems between original Friday studio Paramount, and Warner Bros., New Line's new owners. And those legal tangles have now finally been unravelled, meaning Jason Voorhees is free to kill again.
Weirdly, we have Christopher Nolan to thank for this, and not even especially indirectly. It all comes down to Nolan's upcoming Interstellar, which he's opted, in a break with recent tradition, to set up at Paramount rather than Warners. Warners were apparently so keen to get involved anyway that they've been willing to make some serious concessions in their desparation for a deal.
Along with giving up their co-financing rights on the Friday The 13th franchise, Warners have also relinquished their stake in any future South Park movies: they had international distribution of Bigger, Longer And Uncut, thanks to some residual interests in Comedy Central, which was formed from the ashes of Warners' old Comedy Channel and Viacom's (Paramount's parent company) Ha!. Finally, Paramount will have the right to come on board a yet-to-be-determined future Warners tentpole property.
It's a win-win situation for Paramount, who regain control of a couple of lucrative franchises, and get a cash injection for the no-doubt expensive Interstellar. The catch is that the deal only lasts for five years, meaning that the clock is immediately ticking on the studio's return to quiet little mountain towns and infamous lakeside summer camps.
What might be in store in a future Friday? Last we heard, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (Freddy Vs. Jason) had written a "great - better than the first" screenplay; there was talk of 3D; and there were hints that Jason would be swinging his machete in an environment we'd never seen him in before, namely the snow! ZOMG! Whether all that's still on the table, or whether Paramount will choose to start from scratch, remains to be seen. Expect movement pretty quickly: our money's on a release date of either February or March 13 (both Fridays), 2015.