Warner Bros. loves being in the Christopher Nolan business, and they didn’t want to miss out on his next film, the sci-fi pic Interstellar. However, the movie was being made with Paramount. In order to get in on the action, Warner Bros. has reportedly given up the rights to co-finance the next Friday the 13th picture and a portion a future South Park film. Paramount will also get to co-finance a TBD A-list Warner Bros. property. THR’s report doesn’t say if Paramount gets to choose the property, or if there will be negotiations (I can imagine an exec at Paramount calling WB every day and asking, “Soooo…making that new Batman movie yet?”).
Hit the jump for more.
It’s important to note that a new Friday the 13th and a new South Park movie are not currently in active development. I thought 2009’s Friday the 13th reboot was a perfectly good movie, and it did moderately well at the box office, but Warner Bros. decided to put Jason Voorhees away because according to producer Brad Fuller, studios aren’t interested in R-rated horror films and want tentpole films instead. He’s not wrong. Major studios don’t buy into the singles-and-doubles philosophy. They want nothing but homeruns, and even though Friday the 13th is a franchise, it’s unlikely to ever break $100 million at the box office. But it would still be nice if Paramount were willing to give the franchise new life.
As for South Park, I don’t think a new feature-film is likely. While Trey Parker and Matt Stone have negotiated a new deal to only do 10 episodes a year, and to do them all at once (as opposed to their seven in the fall, seven in the spring deal), South Park has still been making movies. They’re just not feature-length, and Imaginationland and the “Mysterion” trilogy of episodes show that Parker and Stone aren’t opposed to long-form storytelling on South Park. They just seem to have no interest in bringing it to theaters (plus, South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut is a tough act to follow).
However, THR says part of the reason neither of these films were pushed forward was because of rights issues between Warner Bros. and Paramount, which both had a stake in these properties. Now that Warner Bros. has given up the rights to Friday the 13th and South Park, Paramount has more leeway to push for sequels. This is in addition to getting a financing partner on Interstellar, which will likely require a giant budget.
But there is one catch: Paramount will only hold the rights to Friday the 13th and South Park for five years. I can see another Friday the 13th happening in that time, but Parker and Stone have enough power to do what they want with South Park, and even if they’re interested, they have a 50-50 stake in the movies, soundtracks, digital rights, t-shirts, and all other merchandise. It’s a great deal for Parker and Stone, but Paramount might be reluctant to go forward with a movie where they’ll see half of the profits go to the creators.