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Monday, June 15, 2020

‘Hellraiser’ Rights Could Revert Back to Creator Clive Barker in 2021

Many horror franchises are about to enter rights hell thanks to changes Congress made to copyright law in 1976*.

While Friday the 13th is at the forefront of the conversation with screenwriter Victor Miller engaging in a lengthy legal battle with director Sean Cunningham’s Horror, Inc., dozens of other properties are in the midst of rights shifting hands back to their creators.

Friday the 13th Part 3 star and entertainment lawyer Larry Zerner, who has been keeping us all informed as to the process behind the Friday the 13th lawsuits, just dropped a mega-bomb on Twitter:

Yes, you read that correctly, Clive Barker, who created the Hellraiser franchise, as well as the several cenobites, including Pinhead, has sent a notice of termination to producers and plans to grab back rights to his book, “The Hellbound Heart”.

Zerner adds this interesting note: “Barker’s termination (if effective) would not take place until December 19, 2021,” he explains. “If the producers can get a new movie out before then, they would be legally in the clear. Just nothing new after that date.”

I reached out to Zerner who helped clarify how it’s similar to Friday the 13th: “Barker would get back his rights in the underlying story he wrote and also the rights in first script. He would not get any rights in things that were in any of the sequels that were added.”

If you recall, Paramount Pictures was rushing to get a new Friday the 13th off the ground and was even in pre-production when everything was abruptly shut down.

Interestingly, David Bruckner, who was also long-attached to a new Friday the 13th, is currently developing a new take on Hellraiser for Spyglass Media. The project was being fast-tracked until the ongoing pandemic put a wrench in Hollywood’s collective wheels.

Things could be even more complex as this April it was announced that HBO has ordered a “Hellraiser” series with David Gordon Green (Halloween, Halloween Kills) directing the pilot, and Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) & Mark Verheiden (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Heroes”) penning the screenplays.

It’s still unclear to us how there are two sets of rights to Clive Barker’s “The Hellbound Heart” and if either of the aforementioned projects will be affected. It’s also worth noting that Barker could make a deal with Spyglass or HBO (or anyone else for that matter) prior to the rights being returned to him in 2021.

In short, there’s a lot of implications here and I expect many updates over the next year and a half. If anything, let’s just pray that nothing complicates things and Barker can do whatever he likes without having to go into litigation. Watch this spot for new info as it arrives.

Thanks to Mike M. for tipping us off.

*Jon Barkan explained the legal loophole back in 2016: “Basically, what this boils down to is that Miller is using a provision in copyright law by which a creator of an original work must wait 35 years before they can put forth a claim to obtain and reclaim the works that they have created. The claim must be submitted two years before the termination date.”



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/movie/3620247/hellraiser-rights-revert-back-creator-clive-barker-2021/

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