Halloween Returns Cancelled as Dimension Loses Franchise Rights
If you thought that there seemed to be a suspiciously significant delay in Dimension Films’ sequel Halloween Returns, then you were right, as Bloody Disgusting reports that not only is the planned sequel as dead as a horny babysitter but Dimension has now lost their rights to the franchise.
Originally announced to begin production in Louisiana under partnership with Trancas International Films in July–which obviously never happened–the last updates we had on Halloween Returns came in September when director Marcus Dunstan said he wanted to cast “Community” star Gillian Jacobs for the lead role, then again in October when “Halloween” franchise producer Malek Akkad told Daily Dead, “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.'”
TheWrap confirms Bloody‘s report that Miramax is now shopping the franchise rights to other studios, and adds that Dunstan and his co-writer Patrick Melton (with whom he wrote a number of the Saw films) have been cut loose as Miramax attempts to distance themselves from any baggage associated with Dimension. The studio had controlled the property since 1995’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. This, of course, opens up the possibility of a crossover film, with Myers potentially taking on Jason Voorhees if the rights land at Paramount, or Freddy Kruger if it goes to Warner Bros./New Line.
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. It would follow the first sequel’s Deputy Gary Hunt (originally played by Hunter von Leer), who accompanied Dr. Loomis to the school and is now acting sheriff of Haddonfield, Illinois. Dunstan’s approach was said to be more subtle than previous remakes by Rob Zombie, and was looking to shoot on film before he hit a roadblock with Dimension.
“The coolest thing we’ve done so far is a couple motion tests of potential Michaels,” Dunstan stated of his vision for a more old school 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.”
Before Dunstan and Melton, Dimension had hired director Patrick Lussier and screenwriter Todd Farmer (My Bloody Valentine) to make 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 after the failure of the duo’s Drive Angry that ship also sailed.