Peacock has given a straight-to-series order for a prequel series titled “Crystal Lake” to the long-running (and long-in-hibernation) “Friday the 13th” movie franchise.
Bryan Fuller, the television creator behind the likes of “American Gods,” “Pushing Daises” and “Hannibal,” will write, showrun and executive produce. A24, the studio responsible for distributing a slew of recent buzzy horror hits like “The Witch,” “Hereditary,” “X” and “Pearl,” will produce the show.
“I discovered Friday the 13th in the pages of Famous Monsters magazine when I was 10 years old and I have been thinking about this story ever since,” Fuller said in a statement. “When it comes to horror, A24 raises the bar and pushes the envelope and I’m thrilled to be exploring the camp grounds of Crystal Lake under their banner. And [NBCUniversal’s] Susan Rovner is simply the best at what she does. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be working with her again.”
This will not be the first television spin-off for the film franchise, as “Friday the 13th: The Series” (a loose spin-off focused on two cousins tracking down haunted or dangerous antiques) ran for 72 episodes in the late 1980’s. The franchise has also spawned novels, video games as well as the usual assortment of toys, clothes and related IP-specific merchandising tie-ins.
In May, Miller won legal control over his script and the original characters from the first film but not the “Friday the 13th” title or the concept of an adult Jason Voorhees. Like the CBS procedural “Clarice” which ran for one season in 2021 and was forbidden from explicitly mentioning Hannibal Lecter, “Crystal Lake” will presumably attempt to appeal to fans of the IP without being able to utilize at least some core elements of that brand.
The cult classic “Friday the 13th,” penned by Victory Miller and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, opened in 1980 and introduced horror moviegoers to a mysterious camp counselor slasher who was (42-year-old spoiler alert) revealed to be the avenging mother of a young camper who had drowned on site. The first sequel resurrected Jason Voorhees, the second sequel (in 3-D) gave him his iconic hockey mask — and the rest is history. “Friday the 13th” spawned nine conventional sequels between 1981 and 1993, followed by a team-up movie in 2003 (“Freddy Vs. Jason”) and a remake from Platinum Dunes in 2009.
Since then, the hack-and-slash series has been tied up in rights issues concerning its move from Paramount to New Line Cinema and then back to Paramount, while the franchise has been embroiled in a long-running copyright legal dispute between Cunningham and Miller. The franchise had thus-been stalled since the remake, which had earned $92 million worldwide on a $19 million budget, with all 12 films earning a combined $466.2 million worldwide on a combined $78.6 million budget.
Miller, Marc Toberoff (Miller’s copyright attorney) and Rob Barsamian will serve as executive producers for the Peacock show.
Fuller is repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.