Despite the disappointing box office returns for Blair Witch, 2016 has overall been a good year to release a horror movie, with a diverse lineup of features including The Purge: Election Year, The Shallows, Conjuring 2, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe earning either critical raves and/or doing solid business at the box office. However, not every studio is feeling ready to put its offerings into theaters as soon as possible – even with the genre-lucrative Halloween season fast approaching.
The move comes as a surprise in the case of Rings, which was completed over a year ago and had already set up an October release date. The “threequel,” which finds The Ring’s urban legend of a haunted video tape that curses its viewers being upgraded for the era of digital video and streaming, was set to be part of a surprising revival of the franchise along with Sadako X Kayako (aka The Ring vs The Grudge) opening in Japan. However, according to Deadline, it will now open in February of next year instead, while Friday the 13th has been moved from January 2017 to October 2017.
On the other hand, the delay for Friday the 13th marks only the most recent stumble for the troubled franchise, which has already undergone a series of false starts and abandoned creative teams. Despite having been rebooted back in 2009 and previously generating one of the longest and most successful horror series in history, Paramount has since been unable to settle on a direction for the venerable slasher saga – which follows the exploits of undead masked serial-killer Jason Voorhees. The project reportedly has Breck Eisner (The Last Witch Hunter) in talks to direct from a script written by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners), though not much about the film has been revealed at this stage.
At least theater chains will not find themselves entirely deprived of new horror releases for the October 2016 season. The horror comedy The Greasy Strangler and Ouija: Origin of Evil (a prequel to 2014’s Ouija, which was rounded panned by critics but earned a tidy profit at the box office its year of release) are still set to open during the same period from competing studios – though now with slightly less competition now.
Rings will arrive in theaters on February 3rd, 2017. Friday the 13th will release on October 13th, 2017.