In today’s world of franchise properties dominating the cinematic landscape, studios often waste no time greenlighting a follow-up to just about any film that does well at the box office. With that in mind, it’s quite surprising that it’s been nearly 8 years since the Platinum Dunes remake of Friday the 13th hit theaters, and fans are still waiting on the arrival of the next Jason adventure. While reviews were decidedly mixed, F13 2009 brought in a tidy profit, earning $91.3 million worldwide on a budget of only $19 million.
Despite that success, Jason was rewarded not with a sequel, but with an extended stay in development hell. Multiple writers and directors have been attached to what will be the fabled 13th Friday the 13th film over the years, but the stars have never seemed to align quite right, with director David Bruckner dropping out and new writer Aaron Guzikowski coming aboard a mere nine months ago. With Paramount seemingly intent on keeping firm to its previously announced 2017 release date, things really need to get moving fast on the production front.
Thankfully, it appears that the reboot has just acquired a new director. Breck Eisner — son of former Paramount and Disney boss Michael Eisner — is in talks to take the helm of Jason’s long-awaited resurrection. While it might be easy to cry nepotism over Paramount hiring the son of its former CEO, the younger Eisner is no stranger to horror, having directed the well-received 2010 remake of George Romero’s The Crazies. More recently, Eisner directed last year’s Vin Diesel vehicle The Last Witch Hunter, which flirted with horror while being mostly a fantasy/action flick.
For those not following the reboot’s development, this new Friday the 13th film will once again retell the origin of infamous hockey-loving slasher villain Jason Voorhees, which is a bit redundant when one considers that the first few minutes of F13 2009 were essentially a fast-paced retelling of Jason’s beginnings. Of course, producer Brad Fuller has stressed that Guzikowski’s script introduces several new elements to the legend of Jason and Pamela Voorhees, and that fans will likely be pleased with the updates and changes made to the characters.
No matter what one thinks about Platinum Dunes once again rewriting Jason’s past, one thing most genre devotees can enthusiastically agree on is that producers made the right call by not going with a long-threatened found-footage take on the franchise. While there have certainly been good horror films made using the found-footage aesthetic in the past, the style is beyond played out at present, with a veritable deluge of hand-held fright flicks arriving from both Hollywood and the indie scene alike in the last decade.
Will Jason actually make it back to theaters this time, or will things fall through with Eisner and lead to Paramount pushing Friday the 13th’s release date back yet again? At this point, it’s hard to predict, but that won’t stop fans of one of horror’s longest tenured franchises from holding out hope for another trip to Camp Crystal Lake.
Friday the 13th is scheduled to arrive in theaters on January 13, 2017.