Halloween is one of the biggest horror film franchises out there and Michael Myers pretty much owns the month of October, but even a seemingly immortal serial killer can’t compete with Hollywood copyright laws. Dimension Films, the production company responsible for many of the Halloween films, had planned to deliver a new sequel, Halloween Returns, but it has just been made public that Dimension has run out of time to produce the film. As a result, all rights to the Halloween film franchise have reverted back to Miramax.
Will Miramax Give Michael Myers New Life Or An Unmarked Grave?
Six months ago, Dimension Films announced that they had acquired the rights to produce a new film in the franchise, which already had the Halloween Returns title. Now, time has run out and Miramax again has sole ownership of the rights to the franchise, which is based on the 1978 John Carpenter film. So what happens to it now?
Miramax realizes that they have a hot commodity on their hands with past films from the franchise performing well at box offices. Dimension’s inaction over the past months has created an obstacle, leaving Miramax holding an expensive bag. Currently, the hunt is on for another studio willing to give Michael Myers another go around.
The original plan was to begin filming in Louisiana in July 2015, but, as we all now know, that never happened. Later in September, director Marcus Dunstan mentioned that he had hoped to enlist actress Gillian Jacobs (Community) in the starring role and that was the last heard of Halloween Returns, until October when Malek Akkad delivered another hard blow to fans of the Halloween franchise.
“…unfortunately things happen in Hollywood where you have issues with studios and different variables—we’ve had to take a step back and now we’re trying to refigure this beast that is the new Halloween.”
Halloween Has A Proven Track Record
Forbes magazine has taken the time to combine the Halloween films’ box office returns and adjusted the figures for inflation. In their estimation, the entire Halloween franchise has brought in a total of $623.8 million. The original John Carpenter film was the most successful of all of the films, bringing in a total of $47 million, which would equate to $167.5 million by today’s standards. By way of comparison, the budget for that first Halloween film was $325,000.
The success of the entire franchise lies heavily on that first film, which still remains one of the most highly successful independent films of all time. The success of 1978’s Halloween also places it fifth on the list of the most lucrative horror film franchises, based on box office returns.
For those curious to know what Dunstan’s vision of Halloween Returns would have meant to the franchise, he had planned to take the story back to its roots. The new film would have picked up after the events in Halloween II (1981), ignoring every Halloween film that has come after, including Rob Zombie’s rebooted films. In fact, Marcus was excited about bringing a more suspenseful touch to Halloween Returns, which would have been the polar opposite of Zombie’s vision. The new director was also excited about the possibility of filming on actual film, as opposed to the digital technology so often used today.
“The coolest thing we’ve done so far is a couple motion tests of potential Michaels,” Dunstan said, revealing his vision for a more old school approach to the horror film. “I want to see a film shot on film. I want it to be one that stands on its own. Suspense isn’t expensive. A karate fight in a burning room is expensive. Michael Myers is subtlety and suspense.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Marcus Dunstan will remain the director of choice, when the Halloween franchise does find its new home. It certainly seems like he has a unique love for the franchise and for the horror genre in general.
[Featured image by Falcon International Productions]