Having just celebrated another Friday the 13th, the minds of all the Horror faithful turned to matters cinematic, to a certain Mr. Jason Voorhees, who has been too long missing from the silver screen. The lawsuit that has kept the movie franchise trapped in the doldrums for the past several years is largely a matter of common knowledge now, but where do matters stand right at this moment? Permit me to elucidate.
Victor Miller (no relation to yours truly) regained all rights to the screenplay he wrote for the first movie. He is free to move forward with new projects, but he can *only* use material he created in that screenplay. He can’t do a movie with Jason as an adult, only as a little boy. And the trademark hockey mask? Nuh-uh. He owns the Jason name and the instantly recognizable “ki…ki…ki…” soundbite. He owns Camp Crystal Lake and Mrs. Voorhees as the killer. That’s it. He doesn’t even have the rights to the title FRIDAY THE 13TH.
Sean Cunningham, director of the first FRIDAY THE 13TH, owns everything else in the franchise. You might be tempted to think he has the lion’s share, but not really. While Cunningham could go ahead with new projects, and while he owns the familiar image of the big guy with a machete wearing a hockey mask, he doesn’t own the name “Jason Voorhees”.
Could either half of this equation stand up on its own? We will explore the answer to that question in the following post.