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The Rights to ‘Friday the 13th’ Are About to Enter a Battle

Freddy vs Jason via New Line

The last we heard about the long-running franchise was that Breck Eisner was in talks to become the director of a 13th entry in the Friday the 13th series and that the movie pretty much had to film in the next six months. Considering that it’s been seven years since Marcus Nispel’s 2009 entry, we’ve been left waiting for almost the longest delay in between entries, beaten only by the time between Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X. But a new legal complaint that’s sprung up could throw a wrench in plans.

Here’s the skinny: a federal court in Connecticut is about to host a lawsuit that will determine who owns the rights to the franchise. The case is between Victor Miller, the writer of the original film, and Horror, Inc. and the Manny Company, who claim that Miller’s script was done as a “work-made-for-hire”. Why does that “work-made-for-hire” matter? It’s actually the entire basis of the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs claim that Miller was hired by producer/director Sean Cunningham, which means that the rights have to fall back upon the employer, which, in this case, is Manny Company.

According to them, “Miller had never written a horror screenplay prior to his being hired by Cunningham and was guided in the process, and directly supervised, by Cunningham. Accordingly, Miller entered into an employment agreement with the Manny Company pursuant to which Miller wrote a screenplay for the Film as a work for hire (the ‘Screenplay’). (Source)”

Miller wants to take ownership of the rights, which will revert to someone in July of 2018. This case will determine not only who gets the rights but what the future of the franchise will be.

The full complaint can be read here.

At the end of the day, we’re not legal experts. As a result, we have no idea how this will actually affect a new movie. However, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this and, if anything noteworthy happens, you best believe we’ll let you all know.



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