Despite grossing over $91 million against a budget of less than $20 million, almost half a decade has past since Jason Vorhees last graced the screen in Marcus Nispel’s remake of Friday the 13th. The film, which served as a series reboot as well as a linear remake of the first three films, turned Jason, played by Derek Mears, into less of an unstoppable monster and more of a hyperprotective survivalist outcast. As the Platinum Dunes produced remake starring the pretty-faced likes of Supernatural‘s Jared Padalecki, Piranha 3DD‘s Danielle Panabaker and Disturbia‘s Aaron Yoo marked big business in February of 2009, a sequel to the film landed in a stand-stilled, unjustified in the eyes of rights holder Warner Brothers, who expected the reboot to perform better.
But Friday the 13th fans know that not even rights disputes can kill Jason Vorhees, as original rights holder Paramount Pictures regained the rights for the series back following a co-production deal with Warner Brothers. With Paramount unlikely to continue the series as is, expect another reboot of the iconic horror franchise, possibly more likely to follow in the atmospheric footsteps of the original film. Whether Mears’s contract with Platinum Dunes will allow him to return to the role, if he’s even offered the role, is yet to be seen.
How did this all occur? It all comes down to basic economics. Paramount was raring to go forward with Christopher Nolan’s next film, Interstellar, when approached by Warner Brothers to co-produce the picture. WB, which had made gigantic money off Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, with Man of Steel positioned as one of Summer’s premiere blockusters, intended to split the cost of the film with Paramount in exchange for a percentage of the profit, knowing the appeal of Nolan to both the fan and casual moviegoing audience.
However, Paramount had the upper hand, and accepted Warner Brothers’ deal under three conditions. The first condition was to return the rights to the Friday the 13th franchise to Paramount, effectively making Paramount the sole owner of the Friday the 13th franchise and conceivably allowing work on a series reboot to be fast-tracked at any given moment. The second condition was that Paramount be given the rights to a future South Park film, as the sequel to Bigger, Longer and Uncut has languished in developmental hell for over a decade now as the series continues to flourish, although the establishment of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Important Studios may fast-track the production once more if they were to board as co-producers. The final condition is that Paramount is to have a similar stake in an undecided Warner Brothers production, although Paramount’s Avengers money could feasibly be seen as inspiration to find stake in the long-rumored Nolan produced Justice League film.
Will Jason Vorhees be returning to a theater near us soon, courtesy of Paramount Pictures? Will Friday the 13th go the way of too-soon reboots like Dredd and Fright Night? Will Derek Mears return behind the hockey mask? Only time will tell, but until then, keep your eyes here at Diabolique Magazine for future updates.
–By Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine, as well as a contributing writer for Diabolique Magazine and Fangoria Magazine. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he recieved an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on several screenplays spanning over different genres and subject matter, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.