Friday the 13th Lawsuit Reportedly Over Officially, Not Yet Resolved

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The last installment in the Friday the 13th franchise hit heaters in 2009, with a number of complications behind the scenes preventing a new film from moving forward, one of which being the lawsuit between original writer Victor Miller and original director Sean S. Cunningham. Attorney Larry Zerner, who has been following the lawsuit closely and also starred in Friday the 13th: Part III, recently took to Twitter to let fans know that the years-long legal deliberations seem to be coming to an end, with the courts ultimately ruling in favor of Miller. Unfortunately, this is only one step in a long process towards getting more Jason Voorhees content.

For those unfamiliar, the dispute boils down to Cunningham having hired Miller to write the original 1980 Friday the 13th, igniting one of the defining slasher franchises of the ’80s. Despite writing that original film, Miller didn’t possess the rights to that script, with Cunningham reaping the rewards of the franchise’s success for the past 40 years.

“It’s 4 pm and I still don’t see a cert petition filed with the Supreme Court in the Friday the 13th case. What does this mean? Well, it means the case is officially over and Victor Miller owns the rights to his screenplay in F13 (but only in the US),” Zerner tweeted. “Does this mean that the parties have settled or are close to settling (and a new movie is forthcoming)? Not necessarily, it could just mean that Sean Cunningham realized that a cert petition was a real longshot and didn’t want to waste his money. However, the fact that he didn’t file a cert petition makes it (very) slightly more likely that the parties are working out a resolution. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

Complicating matters further is the fact that, while Jason Voorhees appeared in the original film, he wasn’t introduced as a masked murderer until the second film, with the third entry giving him his iconic hockey mask. If the situation isn’t resolved, Miller could develop a new film with the “Friday the 13th” moniker, though it could only be distributed in the U.S. Cunningham could pursue the development of a film featuring Jason Voorhees and use a different title, much like what happened with Jason X or Freddy vs. Jason, but Zerner noted that Cunningham would have to acquire permission from Miller for such a project.

Zerner added, “Can Victor and Sean just each make their own separate movies? Not really, because Victor only owns US rights and only to the first script and Sean owns adult, hockey mask-wearing Jason but can’t legally use him in a movie without Victor’s permission. It’s complicated.”

With the potential next installment set to be the 13th entry, it seems like there will need to be an invested attempt to deliver fans a film worth the long wait, potentially along the lines of how Blumhouse Productions managed to revive Michael Myers with their 2018 Halloween.

Stay tuned for details on the future of the Friday the 13th franchise.

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Are you hoping the matter can be resolved? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!

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