A long-running legal dispute over the Friday the 13th franchise could finally be resolved next year after the announcement of an appeals date. We haven’t seen a new entry in the series since the reboot in 2009, with recent attempts at production complicated by who owns which rights to the brand name and characters. However, according to Bloody Disgusting, we may get a major legal decision in 2020 that could ease the way to another trip to Camp Crystal Lake.
The current battle is between original Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller and director Sean S. Cunningham, with the former being granted sole US rights to his screenplay in a judge’s decision last year. A key part of this decision was a copyright ruling that’s affecting multiple properties, whereby the rights revert to the original author after a specific amount of time, something that may be causing a rush to reboot or add sequels to various series. While the Friday the 13th case has dragged on throughout this year, it now appears to be moving towards a new milestone.
Cunningham and company Horror Inc. are appealing the judge’s decision over Miller by re-iterating their claim that he was just a “writer-for-hire” at the time of the production, and therefore not eligible to be awarded the rights. Based on a tweet by lawyer and Friday the 13th Part III actor Larry Zerner, this argument is going to be formally looked at in early 2020.
Update in Horror, Inc. v. Miller (#Fridaythe13th case). The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has proposed oral arguments for the week of February 10th, 2020.
This means there will probably be a decision by June 2020.
— Larry Zerner (@Zernerlaw) November 22, 2019
What does this mean? Well, if last year’s decision is overturned, then Cunningham and Horror Inc. would regain the rights to the original screenplay.
Alternatively, if Miller wins again, Cunningham and co. may finally settle. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be getting a new Friday the 13th movie anytime soon, it will remove the main legal headache that’s put the franchise on ice, as well as ease the problems affecting the video game of the same name. In any case, we’re hoping that everyone can come to an agreement in 2020 and Friday the 13th can be given (another) new beginning.