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Chucky Movie Rights Explained: Why There's Two Franchise at Two Different Studios

In 2019, Chucky will be the star of both a Child’s Play movie reboot and a network television series, but, unfortunately, the character is being torn in different directions by two different studios. A complicated production and distribution history leaves a lot of confusion over who truly owns the rights to Chucky and what kind of authority it gives them over the character.

In 1988, MGM released the original Child’s Play, an American supernatural horror film that introduced the now-iconic Chucky. The film is based on a story by Don Mancini, and produced by his long-time collaborator David Kirschner. In the lead role, Brad Dourif plays voodoo serial killer Charles Lee Ray, who manages to transfer his soul into a “Good Guys” doll. As a result, “Chucky” comes to life and wreaks havoc on a Chicago boy named Andy Barclay and his mother Catherine, along with a homicide detective named Mike Norris. Made for $9 million, Child’s Play earned over $44 million at the box office, thus kicking off a franchise full of home media and merchandising potential. Chucky may be a killer doll, but he’s entertaining.

Related: Reviewing Every Chucky Movie So Far

Over the years, Mancini has written six Chucky sequels, with Kirschner producing each one. The franchise has been taken in different thematic directions, but it’s always been guided by the same creative team, and featuring a villain that fans have come to know and love. In 2019, Chucky has an identity crisis, though, as Mancini and Kirschner don’t own the movie rights to the original 1988 film, or the upcoming reboot. As a result, there are going to be two different Chuckys on the prowl at the same time. Here’s everything you need to know about the Child's Play movie rights.

There's a Chucky Movie And An (Unrelated) Chucky TV Show In Development

If you’ve been hearing about a Child’s Play TV show, the important thing to know is this: Child's Play: The TV Series is being developed by Mancini and Kirschner, the original creative team. So, an authentic version of Chucky will indeed appear on network television, complete with all the personality traits that fans are familiar with. The series will be produced by Universal.

The Child's Play: The TV Series will also be executive produced by Nick Ancosta. For those unfamiliar with his work, he’s the creator of the popular yet recently-canceled SyFy series Channel Zero, of which previously aired for four seasons. Child's Play: The TV Series will also air on SyFy, suggesting that Mancini and Kirschner are fully committed to a high-quality Chucky production.

More: 17 Hollywood Horror Series That Refuse to Die

While Mancini is a big part of the TV show, but turned down an executive producer credit on the movie, citing frustration with MGM's decision to make it at all.

“MGM retained the rights to the first movie, so they’re rebooting that. They asked producer David Kirschner and I if we wanted to be executive producers. We said no thank you, because we have our ongoing thriving business with Chucky. Obviously my feelings were hurt. Ya know, I had just done two movies… forgive me if I sound defensive, they were both at 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though they didn’t get theatrical releases, they were well regarded. And I did create the character and nurture the franchise for three fucking decades.”

Page 2: Chucky's Movie And TV Rights History And What to Expect

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Key Release Dates
  • Child's Play (2019) release date: Jun 21, 2019
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