When Can We Expect a New ‘Friday the 13th’ Movie? “Not Soon” says Sean Cunningham.

Jason’s journey to return to the big screen is still ongoing, and Sean Cunningham recently explained why.

Sean Cunningham doesn’t expect to see any Friday the 13th movies in theaters for at least three years.

In January of 2023, it was reported that Sean Cunningham had given his blessing for the development of a new Friday the 13th movie. Now, a year and four months later, Cunningham says that we shouldn’t expect to see Friday the 13th in movie theaters any time soon.

The news comes from Sean Cunningham’s appearance at Texas Frightmare Weekend. Cunningham participated in a panel reuniting the director and producer of Friday the 13th (1980) with Adrienne King, the star of the film, and Tom Savini, the special effects master who created all the gory kills seen on screen. The trio spoke about the making of their influential classic slasher movie, and they moved on to talking about the Friday the 13th series as a whole as fans began asking questions.

Jason Voorhees' hockey mask, up close.
Jason Universe was recently announced, but the announcement of that project noticeably excluded any references to movies (and Sean Cunningham is not involved in Jason Universe to the best of our knowledge).

When asked about a new Friday the 13th movie, Sean Cunningham surprisingly didn’t talk about any of the rights issues that have plagued the franchise for years. We’ve previously broken down the legal battles between Cunningham, Victor Miller, and Horror Inc., but it sounds like Cunningham is confident that the legal side of the matter isn’t an issue. Instead, he said that the major obstacle holding back a new Friday the 13th film is the reluctance of a movie studio to risk putting money into a horror project that might not see a huge return on its investment.

Cunningham went on to explain, saying that in the post-pandemic world where movie-watching habits are changing, especially for movies released in theaters, studios aren’t necessarily willing to provide a substantial budget for a horror movie. At least, not for one they’re not reasonably certain will do well in theaters. As we understand it, New Line owns the trademark for the Friday the 13th title, and they presumably have the movie rights, though Cunningham didn’t specifically name New Line when he was talking about movie studios. (Note: This text is altered from the original publishing to further clarify that this is paraphrasing Cunningham’s words and is not a direct quote from him.)

A young Jason leaps out of Camp Crystal Lake to grab Alice (Adrienne King) in the dream sequence ending of Friday the 13th (1980).
When asked about the infamous ending of Friday the 13th and whether or not it was made with the intention of sequels, Cunningham said that his thoughts at the time were to do the one movie and then move on to a totally different project (which he did). Tom Savini said the scene was his idea because he’d seen Carrie (1976) and liked its ending.

New Line co-produced Evil Dead Rise and The Nun II in 2023, but they do seem very particular about the horror they’ve produced over the past few years. So, while Sean Cunningham appeared hopeful about the potential of Friday the 13th slashing its way back into theaters at some time in the future, he said that he wouldn’t expect it to happen for “at least three years.” And in the movie business, that could mean indefinitely.

On a more positive note, Cunningham didn’t appear to have any ill-will for the other Friday the 13th project still headed our way, the A24-produced series Crystal Lake. He said he is looking forward to the show and is interested in seeing how they adapt the story in a new way.

Another positive is that Sean Cunningham stated that a new Friday the 13th video game is on the way. He didn’t give any details or dates, but it’s nice to know it’s being worked on after the sudden stop players saw in the previous game that was originally released in 2017.

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.