How hard is it to make a Friday the 13th film?

The release date for the latest attempt at a reboot of the franchise has been pushed from February 2017 to October 2017. The movie has been in development hell for awhile now. Why?

The last Friday the 13th movie, now 7 years old, made money hand over fist, even more than the past films, which were already quite profitable. What are they trying to do, make a masterpiece? It’s Friday the 13th! It doesn’t have to be good! Campers, Jason, chop, slash, stab. I like that sometimes they try to change things up a little bit, and the trailer that has been released does look pretty cool. But why can’t they just churn these things out like they used to?

Same goes for Nightmare on Elm street movies. The last one was immensely profitable but again, no followup. The trivia section of Nightmare on Elm street says this:

WTF?! Since when do they start listening to critics or even fans when it comes to making these movies? Do they hate money? Are they all of a sudden finding artistic integrity or something?

Far harder than you seem to think.

Everyone thinks a low to zero budget horror film can be pushed out and horror fans will excuse poor plot, acting, direction… And actually it can be true. Such films can be a financial success. Any studio can pick up hundreds of ready made films each year from festivals for peanuts.

The problem with a really cheap film is that it costs far more to actually get it in cinemas - A cinema release is where it gets expensive. But even the marketing costs of a straight to DVD soon add up. Allow that these days most studios are only interested in blockbuster movies and demand for any given horror film soon dries up.

Many completed films sit in studio vaults because the companies buy them for many reasons but can’t be bothered to pay the costs of releasing them. **All The Boys Love Mandy Lane **is a good example. Got GREAT reviews, supposedly reinvented the slasher genre, best horror film of the year at all the festivals, bought for a tidy sum… Then sat unreleased for years.

While the studios love a franchise movie these days what they ACTUALLY love is a ‘clean’ franchise where they have clear legal rights to characters, plots and, of course, collectables.

Your Friday the Thirteenth is legally polluted with dozens of prior producers who still have partial control over any future films that get made. All have to be negotiated with. All have some degree of ‘Artistic Control’ and worst of all they are all entitled to getting paid. Even though they probably won’t have any active part in making a new film.

And that’s not to mention most of these long running franchises already have ongoing legal battles (usually over money) from the various previous versions.

Then there is the usual hiding to nothing with a horror film franchise. Make the narrative different to attract new fans and the established fan base won’t like it. Plus the (almost inevitable) bad reviews mean potential new fans won’t be interested either.

Read your own quote. Jackie Earle Haley was discussing salary (he wants more money making the film less financially viable from the off) and storylines (he wants creative control as will the director, all the other producers) plus the hard core fans will still want Robert Englund back anyway…

More trouble than it is worth.


I was thinking something much simpler: a) Horror film released at Hallowe’en-time might play better than Valentine’s Day; b) Release date pushed back to avoid competition with other “seasonal” films or “summer blockbusters.”