Folks these days are always saying that we’re living in the darkest timeline. But if that were so, why would we be given a gift like this? For NBA legend LeBron James is in talks to produce a new Friday the 13th reboot that features Jason Voorhees and some presumably scantily clad campers.
The news comes courtesy of Variety, which reports that James’ SpringHill Entertainment is in talks with Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment to acquire the rights to the Friday the 13th franchise, which has been dormant for going on 10 years. This is not exactly a surprising development considering Halloween, a pseudo-reboot of the Michael Myers franchise produced by Jason Blum’s Blumohouse and Universal Pictures, just posted the second biggest opening weekend in October history. Grossing over $76 million this past weekend, that revival starred Jamie Lee Curtis in her signature role of Laurie Strode, and with plenty of nostalgia posted the highest number in the franchise’s history.
We imagine after the success of Halloween (and recent big numbers posted by horror films like Get Out and The Conjuring multi-franchise), Friday the 13th will find an easier road to release now. If the deal goes through, James’ production company has a first deal with Warner Bros., so that would be a likely home for the project. That in itself is intriguing since they produced through New Line Cinema the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th. That remake (back when the term was fashionable) was also produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production label and posted a then eye-popping opening in February of $40 million. Based on a $19 million budget, that seemed like a tremendous start, but the frontloaded picture did not necessarily create too many new fans and ultimately grossed only $91 million worldwide. Despite talks of a sequel, like Platinum Dunes’ Nightmare on Elm Street redo, no follow-up ever emerged.
Truthfully, Jason has always been a bit of a Michael Myers knockoff, and one that doesn’t so easily lend himself to recontextualization. With that said, during the 1980s, there was no bigger or more popular visage of horror than the dude in the hockey mask with a machete. A potent image, Jason was arguably the first slasher monster who became the hero of his franchise, one audiences cheered on the carnage from. Such an approach might be more difficult to execute in this decade given the prevalence of more real-life violence associated with young people, but a savvy producer (and basketball player) could be able to find a path back to Jason’s Crystal Lake. Halloween has shown that audiences are eager to take the trip.
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