There won’t be a Friday the 13th coming this Halloween after all. And we might not see the machete-wielding Jason Vorhees anytime in the near future, either.
Paramount Pictures has cancelled the film less than two months before it was set to go in front of the cameras, according to The Hollywood Reporter, although no official reason was provided.
Platinum Dunes, the production company behind the film, and Breck Eisner, who was to have directed the movie, received word earlier in the day, according to multiple sources. The film was in pre-production and, while not cast, heading toward a production start in mid-March.
The film had been in development for quite some time, with producer Brad Fuller encouraged by the solid box office outing of a 2009 version of the film. which earned $92.7 million globally against a $19 million budget. Life for the project since has been, well, a complete mess.
Paramount and Warner Bros. were supposed to work together on the project through Warner’s New Line Cinema, but the latter studio left the project when it relinquished its film rights as the result of a deal that gave Warner Bros. a piece of 2014’s Interstellar.
Paramount then turned to Platinum Dunes, which produced 2014’s Ouija as well as The Purge and the Transformers franchises. The film, however, went through multiple directors and writers, getting its premiere date pushed back as well, finally landing on Oct. 13 – a date that actually matched the film’s name.
A script had been finalized, but it was unclear who wrote it. Last reports in December 2015 had Aaron Guzikowski, a writer of the upcoming Charlie Hunnam crime drama Papillon as the scribe.
So what killed Friday the 13th? It looks like it was another horror franchise that got a rocky start this past weekend at the box office: Rings. With a budget of $33 million, the film opened to a solid second place with $13 million, but was not enough to unseat Split from the top spot.
Despite releasing nine films so far this year – more than any other studio – Paramount is lagging majorly among studios, according to The Numbers. It’s grossed $124.5 million domestically, commanding just 12.4 percent of the market.
By comparison, Universal Pictures is leading so far with $227.6 million on just four films, with a market share of 22.6 percent.
The Friday the 13th franchise has earned $318.7 million worldwide since the first film debuted in 1980. When adjusted for inflation, the first Friday the 13th film grossed $188.1 million globally.
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