Warner Bros. Gets in on ‘Interstellar’ Money; Hands Over ‘Friday the 13th’ & ‘South Park’ Rights

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 10:00 pm,

South Park and Jason Warner Bros. Gets in on Interstellar Money; Hands Over Friday the 13th & South Park Rights

Everyone wants to be in the Christopher Nolan business. Given that the writer-director jump-started the Batman franchise with 2005′s Batman Begins, followed it up with two critically and commercially successful sequels, (while delivering The Prestige and Inception between them), that’s hardly a surprise.

After helping shape Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel, Nolan is stepping into the realm of hard sci-fi with Interstellar, a project originally set-up at Paramount from a script by his brother Jonathan and meant for Steven Spielberg. The Lincoln director set it aside to make Robopocalypsewhich paved the way for Nolan to take the helm and rewrite the script.

Given that Warner Bros. produced and distributed all three films of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, it definitely wanted a piece of the Interstellar action. As told by The Hollywood Reporter, the price for joining their rival’s project with Nolan was Warner’s stake in future installments of two potential cash-cow franchises: Friday the 13th and South ParkParamount will also have co-finance rights on an A-list Warner property which has yet to be determined.

So now Paramount has a partner on a potentially-risky original sci-fi project, and Warner gets to stay in the Nolan game. The catch here is that Paramount has to develop movies for both franchises within the next five years.

The relationship between these rival studios and Friday the 13th dates back to the original 1980 film, produced and directed by Sean Cunningham with investments from Boston theater owners. Paramount distributed the film domestically while Warner Bros. handled it internationally. Cunningham eventually re-acquired the rights to the franchise and set up shop at New Line (home to A Nightmare On Elm Street) for many of the sequels.

Warner Bros. had acquired New Line by the time Cunningham and company were ready to mount a remake, and it was discovered that Paramount still had a certain number of rights when it came to the property and were brought in as a 50-50 partner. Produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes shingle, the surprisingly effective remake brought in $91 million on a budget of less than $20 million.

The history of the two studios when it comes to South Park is a similarly tangled story. The show created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone originated on Comedy Central, which was formed when Time Warner’s HBO spinoff network Comedy Channel was merged with Ha!, a channel created by Paramount’s parent corporate entity, Viacom. Warner exited Comedy Central but retained some rights to South Park, and went on to distribute South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut overseas.

Jason stalks a victim Warner Bros. Gets in on Interstellar Money; Hands Over Friday the 13th & South Park Rights

The complicated rights entanglement was discovered when efforts began to mount for both a second South Park movie and another installment in the ongoing saga of Jason Voorhees and severed limbs. Thus, to maintain their relationship with Christopher Nolan, Warner Bros. gave the rights to the properties away to Paramount. There are no details on how the studios will divide the profits from Interstellar – which Warner Bros. senses could become another Inception - but expect one studio to distribute the film here in the States and the other to handle the release internationally.

Given that Warner Bros. will have their hands full over the next decade or so while they catch up with Marvel and establish their own DC Universe on the big-screen, trimming their franchise load kind of makes sense. Since Paramount has five years to do something with the properties, it’s a sign that Warner knows there is money to be made there and won’t give them up permanently.

As for Paramount, they have the Mission: Impossible series going for them, the rebooted Star Trek series, they own DreamWorks (thus having their fingers in anything Steven Spielberg makes at the company), and they now have a relationship with Christopher Nolan. It shouldn’t be long before announcements about new Friday the 13th and South Park movies show up, with both brands proving to be profitably resilient.


In the meantime, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway will open on November 7th of 2014.

Source: THR

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  1. Marvel, Fox, and Sony take note. Let’s get these crossovers started :D

    • Even Sony? This new spiderman is very mediocre and not worthy of the success of X men first class or Avengers.

      But the two latter would do very well to cross over especially with Hugh Jackman working with the Avengers.

      • I enjoyed the new Spiderman. I’m a Spiderman fan at heart though because I relate to Peter Parker more than the other superheroes. Anything Spiderman I particually like except Spiderman 3. That was just a train wreck. Not completely but for the most of it it was.

  2. This I think is a good sign for a DC movie Universe. I have a feeling that it will pave the way for Warner Brothers and Nolan to go full blast on the adapting DC characters. I am willing to bet that Nolan wanted to see how the Superman movie performed before committing to developing comic book movies. With Iron Man and now Superman showcasing that this genre is the biggest thing going and Nolan not being involved in the James Bond franchise for at least the next four years it makes perfect sense for him to expand the grounded universe he is credited with starting and I think it will turn out to be EPIC!

  3. I want to do a South Park film… :(

  4. I wonder if Nolan is considering turning this film into his own franchise/trilogy and has had this conversation with WB and that might be why WB wants in. My thinking behind this is that he will want to be thought of as a great director who has done many different films over his career and not just the director of the Batman triology (which I love) and this is understandable. As far as WB is concerned getting in with Nolan is a no brainer as he is hot property in Hollywood these days.

    • *trilogy

      • While I see your point, I don;t think Nolan really wants to jump into another film franchise after Batman, even if it’s one he starts. I could be wrong since it really depends on what kind of story Nolan wants to tell but it seems more likely that Interstellar will be a standalone film.

  5. hey real michael bay… how about bad boys 3??

    i would loooooove another south park movie

  6. A Nolan/Parker/Stone South Park film all about Scientologists.

  7. I have a feeling Nolan has made the movies that guaranteed WB millions every time and now they’re willing to keep him around and build bridges with other companies to allow him to do his own pet projects and keep a portion of the profits for themselves at the same time in case he makes even more money for people like Paramount.

    As far as the “shared universe” comment or two I saw, doesn’t work that way.

    Like the article said, this is just WB getting a portion of international distribution profits, which would be more money for them than Paramount would get for their US-only distribution rights. WB themselves aren’t getting involved in the story, editing etc, just non-US promotion and release.

    • So Warner Brother’s is giving up a stake in TWO franchises for a one off on distribution rights for just one movie – Interstellar?

      Uh no!

      • Two franchises that are pretty much dead, I can’t imagine another South Park movie anytime soon and the Friday 13th remake was pretty bad, it seems like a good idea to send off your two under achieving kids to boarding school if the school is willing to pay for their education!

        If the kids graduate you can be proud and reap the rewards, if they don’t well what have you lost?

        Win Win for Warners!

        • Neither one of those franchises is even close to “dead” sir.

          Friday the 13th is just like it’s main character: no matter how hard you try, no matter how bad the films are: you simply can’t kill it. It still makes money.

          Same with South Park. South Park is about as far from dead as it gets.

          • South Park the movie came out in 1999, if they were going to make another they’d have done it already, yeah it’s great as a tv show but who’s going to pay to see another movie?

            I agree Friday 13th can’t be killed but it’s just a dumb slasher movie, unless they turn the Jason Vorhees character into a genius mastermind who toys with his victims with a numerous traps and torture devices I can’t see another franchise emerging anytime soon!

            Audiences expect a little more than nostalgia from their movies and horror movies these days as all of these lame remakes and their mediocre success have gone to show!

        • Interstellar has NO built in audience. Warner is the one taking a HUGE risk. The only thing going for that movie is Chris Nolan’s name. Both titles (Friday the 13th and South Park made money (not huge amounts) but over three or four movies it would add up. PLUS Paramount gets to co-produce another yet unnamed Warner Brothers “tent-pole” movie.

          This SEEMS like a one sided deal or at least a risky one…and I am not the only one that thinks so…

          “This is quite a gamble for Warner Bros., even given Nolan’s consistent box office track record. Without his name attached I wonder how many people would go watch a 2014 Matthew McConaughey science fiction movie.” – Cinema Blend

          “What a blockbuster! Now, some might argue with the logic on Warner Bros.’ end: trading valuable, well-priced assets for maxed-out stars has come back to haunt teams again and again…Also, Interstellar’s not an adaptation or a sequel: It’s a — gasp — original property.” –

          If this “investment” in Nolan’s pet project secures him for running the DC universe…then there is no risk at all. I could be wrong but I don’t think I am!

        • You’re kidding right? Dead? South Park is still huge and continues to be CC’s #1 show. The Friday The 13th remake was not bad in my opinion but hardcore fans couldn’t get over the fact that Jason ran. Bad, were parts 5 through 10. But regardless of your or my opinion, people will still pay to watch these movies until the end of time. That my friend makes the franchise a profitable one. I mean you spend less than $20,000,000 and make $90,000,000. Makes sense? Well it definitely makes dollars.

          • My point was that Warners wins regardless of what happens, if Paramount chooses to make more movies out of these properties then Warner still makes money, if they don’t then they are no better off

            Warners clearly isn’t too concerned about this franchises or they would be investing themselves

            • Warner is so much smarter than people give them credit for. Nolan makes hit movies, of course they want to be in on it, whether it’s a standalone or there’s a sequel. Who cares about SP or F13 when you could have a Nolan movie.

      • Quality over quantity; Friday 13th and south park are nearly tapped out whereas interstellar has the potential to be a trilogy.

        • As Dr Mindbender stated…”neither one of those franchises is even close to” tapped out and how do you know Interstellar has the potential to be a trilogy or if even their agreement extends past one movie?

          • ^^^
            Because it’s a Nolan movie and the masses love his movies.

    • @Dazz.

      I am thinking WB is a bit worried about Nolan jumping ship to Disney. They still have not worked out a deal with Legendary and Syncopy. Which runs out at the end of the year.

      I cannot imagine the WB Executives that would be jumping out the windows if Nolan signed a partnership with Disney, or Legendary was purchased by Disney.

  8. Intersteller will gross more than all friday the 13th and south park films added together in the future. Just a prediction

    • You know you will be right… now predict me some lotto numbers.

      • 7-23-20-10-15

        Idk if that even is enough numbers

    • ^^^

  9. The last Friday The 13th made 91 mill on a 20 mill budget. Not bad. And a South Park movie could easily make money, in my opinion.

    This is a win for both companies, not one or the other.

    Smart move by WB, though, to keep as much of a partnership with Nolan that they can.

  10. Okay hang on…

    … exactly what South Park rights were acquired? All of them, or just movie rights?

    • Movie only. And for paramount to get their share of the profits from new friday 13th/southpark they have to make it within the next 5 years (whether that means in theather by then or in production I’m not sure). They also will have a hand in a future a-list movie from warner. Really though what i get from this is that paramount gets the halve their risk insofar as costs for interstellar since it will now be split with warner. Warner gets to keep their relationship with nolan alive and well and get a piece of the pie if/when the film does well (im sure warner shareholders are convinced it will). For nolan this could be good as he can now use assets hes built up with warner (think producers, studio spaces, deals with special effect companies etc etc)

  11. Damn. Two franchises are a hefty price to pay just for a share in a single Chris Nolan movie. Couldn’t Warner have waited for him to finish Interstellar and offered him a new project instead?

    I feel a little sorry for New Line Cinema here. As a Warner Bros label they are now supposed to be specializing in lower budget products like Friday the 13th. If Warner is no longer interested in these will they be dissolved?

  12. As long as they make a sequal and not a reboot for the friday 13th movie, i will be happy.

  13. Still wish they could make a Freddy(Robert Englund version) vs Jason vs Michael Myers film. It would make 80 to 100 million easy if done right.

  14. With Star Wars coming back and Star Trek being rebooted Warner probably wants a potential space based movie to put out there. Nolan has done well for them and I guess they want to keep him in house for now. How valuable it will be remains to be seen, and even though Friday the 13th and to a lesser degree South Park may not be considered huge money draws they can still pull an audience while Nolan’s film is just on the drawing board.

  15. This is great news! It means there will definately be plaans for a new nolan triology!!

    One thing I will say though owners of screenrant if I may speak freely, this new screen rant menu bar thing that follows u as u scoll down the page is the most irritating thing ever!!!! It has no useful perpose what so ever, are people that lazy that can’t scroll up to the menu any more?? Its absolutly dreadful when I’m browsing on my phone aswel, to the point where its a chore to visit this site on my phone. So I’m asking as a lover of this site please remove it?

  16. “they own DreamWorks (thus having their fingers in anything Steven Spielberg makes at the company)”

    No, no, no. Paramount doesn’t own DreamWorks, they split-up five years ago. They’re owned by Reliance while Touchstone is handling the distribution deals for their output. And don’t pull the argument that Paramount is still with DreamWorks’ animation studio, Fox took over recently.

  17. It’s too bad they couldn’t give them DC as well.

  18. WB’s trust, faith and hope in Chris Nolan are misplaced and over zealous in regard to this project.

    • @ Stark

      Im sure everyone knows Nolan is WB’s golden boy. It’s obvious WB/DC can’t make a DC film without Nolan or Goyer’s involvement. Wondered why neither in that circle were involved in Green Lantern is beyond me. Atleast Marvel has other directors & still proved to be it’s own success.

  19. I think it is a smart movie by Warner Brothers to have the 5 year limitation. South Park has reduced their TV schedule because Trey Parker and Matt Stone have too much on the table right now and are entirely too busy for production of the TV show (since they do almost every position). So, to start production on a movie in the next 5 years seems almost impossible (maybe that will be the next Mission Impossible script).

    As for Friday the 13th, I’m sure another film will surface within the 5 year span. If it is as successful as the reboot, Warner Brothers is looking at losing a 70 to 75 million profit. If paramount is smart, they’ll push for at least 2 of those films in 5 years. So, 120 – 150 million would be the loss for the WB.

    Interstellar’s rights domestically or internationally would probably be compared to Inception’s $825 million worldwide box office (on a $160 million budget). So, even if you took the entire budget out of just the lesser domestic lifetime gross, you’re left with a profit of $132. It comes down to do you trust the cash cow that is Nolan over a known profitable horror franchise and an animated film who’s creative team are way too busy to make new creations at this moment? The answer to that question has to be yes.

  20. Lets see christopher nolan + mathew mcconough (cant spell) + jessica chastain + anne hathway and michael caine. I think its less risky than everyone thinks. Inception also had no backing before release. Granted i doubt it will do that well

  21. It’s not risky at all. It’s smart. How can anyone think it’s risky when Nolan is one of the most famous directors out right now?

  22. Id like to see Nolan reboot Friday the 13th franchise. Last film sucked.