Friday the 13th lawsuit is officially over, but no sign of resolution

Back in September, we heard that the lawsuit over the copyright to the original Friday the 13th (watch it HERE) had been decided – for the second time – in favor of the film’s screenwriter, Victor Miller. This means that Miller will be receiving the copyright to the film in the United States, and the judge wasn’t won over by director/producer Sean S. Cunningham’s argument that Miller shouldn’t be given the copyright because he had only written what he had been hired and told to write. Having lost both the initial judgment and the appeal, Cunningham could have taken a petition to the Supreme Court – but entertainment lawyer Larry Zerner (who also happened to be a Friday the 13th Part III cast member) reports that the deadline for the Supreme Court petition has passed without Cunningham filing one. So the lawsuit is officially over.

Here’s what Zerner had to say about it yesterday:

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).

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.

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. Hopefully, we’ll hear some good news in the future.

So the lawsuit is over, but Miller and Cunningham are still going to have to work together to figure out a resolution before we can see any more Friday the 13th movies. Hopefully they’ll find a way to overcome the issues they have with each other and bring us more Jason before much longer.

Source: Twitter

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.