Don’t expect to see a new Friday the 13th movie for at least three years

Original Friday the 13th director / producer Sean S. Cunningham says a new Friday the 13th movie is still at least three years away

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

The copyright lawsuit between original Friday the 13th director / producer Sean S. Cunningham and screenwriter Victor Miller, a case that dragged on for years, finally ended with Miller being awarded the copyright to the first movie within the United States. Fans were hoping that meant the path was clear for a new Friday the 13th film to go into production soon – but that’s not happening. During an appearance at the Texas Frightmare Weekend convention, Cunningham told fans we shouldn’t expect to see a new Friday the 13th movie for at least three more years.

Back in the glory days, a.k.a. the ’80s, we were getting new Friday the 13th movie from Paramount on a yearly basis, with 1983 and 1987 being the only years without a new F13 arriving on the screen. But things changed when the ’90s arrived. We only got one new movie, from New Line Cinema, that entire decade, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Otherwise, the franchise was bogged down in the development hell of Freddy vs. Jason, which took ten years to come together. So long that another F13 movie, Jason X, was sent out into the world in the meantime. When Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash fell through, Platinum Dunes was brought in (after a brief, ill-fated attempt to get Quentin Tarantino to mastermind a new Friday movie) to reboot the franchise. Which they did, with 2009’s Friday the 13th – and since that film used elements from the first four movies that were released by Paramount, New Line and Paramount had to work together on that one. For a moment, it looked like a 3-D sequel was on the fast track for a 2010 release… but New Line would have to work with Paramount on a sequel, and the studios didn’t want to split the money again. So that was scrapped. Later, New Line gave Paramount five years to do whatever they wanted with the franchise, and what Paramount did was keep it development hell for five years. When a movie was finally just weeks from going into production, Paramount pulled the plug because their recent horror release Rings had underperformed. Then came the Cunningham / Miller lawsuit. Things have been a mess for a long time. We got eight movies in ten years. In the thirty-five years since, we’ve only gotten four more.

Asked about the chances of a new Friday the 13th movie happening any time soon during his appearance at Texas Frightmare Weekend, Cunningham said (according to Creepy Catalog), “the major obstacle holding back a new Friday the 13th film is the reluctance of a movie studio to risk putting money into a horror project that might not see a huge return on its investment. In the post-pandemic world where movie-watching habits are changing, especially for movies released in theaters, studios like New Line aren’t necessarily willing to provide a substantial budget for a horror movie. At least, not for one they’re not reasonably certain will do well in theaters.” So, he said, don’t expect to see a new movie for “at least three years.

One problem here is that Cunningham seems to think “a substantial budget” is necessary for a Friday the 13th movie, which shouldn’t be the case. Unless people behind-the-scenes are asking for large paydays. For the action on the screen, it shouldn’t cost too much to have Jason Voorhees slash his way through a new batch of characters.

Of course, there are other Friday the 13th projects in development. Miller is teaming up with his lawyer Marc Toberoff, franchise rights holder Rob Barsamian of Horror Inc., production company A24, and the Peacock streaming service for a series called Crystal Lake, which will tell a new version of the story of Jason Voorhees and his mother. Announced on Halloween 2022, that show looked like it would be heading into production this summer – but then A24 decided they wanted to go in “a different direction” than showrunner Bryan Fuller was taking the story, so Fuller was dropped and they need to find a new showrunner to take Crystal Lake in a direction A24 is more enthusiastic about. It’s worth noting that the Peacock deal guarantees one season of the show, with the streamer facing a penalty if they don’t do a second season. Pretty much making sure season 2 is going to happen as well. The fact that two seasons of a TV show are expected could be why Cunningham said a movie is at least three years down the line. By the way, Cunningham holds no ill will toward the project, even though it’s the result of him losing the copyright battle. He said he is “looking forward to the show and is interested in seeing how they adapt the story in a new way.

Cunningham was once developing a TV series of his own, called Crystal Lake Chronicles. The CW expressed interest in that one… before it fell apart, like everything else.

Miller, Toberoff, and Barsamian are also behind the recently announced Jason Universe plan to release “new Friday the 13th activations that will span a wide range of platforms from entertainment, games, immersive experiences, merchandise and more to be announced throughout 2024 via @JasonUniverse13 on social media or by visiting the official Jason Universe website.” But the movie side of the franchise is going to remain dormant for a while.

What do you think of a new Friday the 13th movie being “at least three years” away? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Source: Creepy Catalog

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.