Multiple sources are reporting that Halloween is looking for a new studio. The long-running horror series has been under the banner of Dimension Films since 1995, starting with its sixth film, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, and topping off with the second Rob Zombie-directed remake in 2009.
TheWrap notes that this development means that Halloween Returns, the proposed next entry in the saga of Michael Myers—the relentless, white-masked killer made famous in 1978 by John Carpenter’s Halloween—is off the table for now:
On June 15, Dimension announced it was teaming with Trancas International Films on “Halloween Returns,” which would start production in July under the direction of Marcus Dunstan, who co-wrote the script with longtime collaborator Patrick Melton.
Obviously, “Halloween Returns” did not start production in July, and insiders tell TheWrap that Dunstan and Melton are no longer involved, as Miramax wanted a clean break from Dimension and the incarnation of the project that had been in development at the Weinstein Company’s genre division. Malek Akkad, whose family has been involved with the franchise since Michael Myers was an innocent young boy, remains on board to produce the next “Halloween” movie, regardless of where the rights wind up.
(The tangled web of Hollywood studios alluded to in that second paragraph refers to the fact that Dimension was first a part of the Disney-owned Miramax, but then became a part of the Weinstein Company, which formed after the Weinstein Brothers left Miramax.)
Carpenter’s original film—which launched the director’s career, made Jamie Lee Curtis a star, and provided the world with one of the eeriest theme-songs ever (again, courtesy of Carpenter)—has become an influential slasher classic over the years.
Made for an estimated $325,000, its eventual $70 million-plus take means Halloween is one of the most profitable films of all time. By the time part six—which starred a young Paul Rudd, and featured one of series regular Donald Pleasence’s final roles before his death—rolled around, Halloween’s spooky factor had deflated a bit. But the films still sold plenty of tickets. The output of the Dimension years also included 1998’s Halloween H20, which brought Curtis back for one final crack at her character’s killer brother, and 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, a wan attempt at cashing in on the newfangled reality-TV craze.
Bloody Disgusting, which broke the news of Halloween’s departure from the Dimension stable, has an intriguing proposal for the series’ future:
If you want to speculate, how cool would it be if this were to land at Warner Bros./New Line or at Paramount Pictures? While the “Universe” pot is hot, could you imagine a shared universe with Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface?
Leatherface and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre rights were once owned by New Line, as was Jason Voorhees (which was sent to Paramount in exchange to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar). It is an absolutely possibility to bring all of these horror icons under one roof. Someone’s just got to be proactive to make it happen.
Now that Universal is plotting a shared universe with its classic monsters, a similar situation for 1980s horror villains seems even more probable, especially considering the success of 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason. It’s more likely, though—given Hollywood’s fondness for rebooting familiar properties—that whoever takes over the property will launch a new series based on the existing Halloween storyline. We’ve already gotten an origin story thanks to the Zombie movies, but perhaps there’s more Halloween left to tell: a story focusing on Dr. Loomis, perhaps? Or—since continuity suggests Michael Myers is pushing 60 at this point—a deeper exploration of the un-killable killer’s more supernatural qualities?
For Halloween fans, it’s a disappointment that Halloween Returns will likely never see the light of day, especially with this intriguing premise; ComingSoon reports that “Halloween Returns would have followed the events of 1981’s Halloween II and paved a new continuity from there, ignoring all subsequent sequels and remakes.” Interestingly, ComingSoon adds, Dimension had also previously planned a film entitled Halloween 3D “as a direct follow-up to the Zombie films and featuring the return of Halloween III: Season of the Witch star Tom Atkins,” but that was scrapped in favor of Halloween Returns instead.
H/t Germain Lussier