[Exclusive] U.S. Rights to ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ Have Reverted Back to Wes Craven’s Estate

One of the biggest conversations in the horror community right now is the current state of the Friday the 13th franchise, which is trapped in a legal battle between two parties.

It all started when Friday the 13th writer Victor Miller exercised a legal right that would revert the ownership of the story back to him. Director Sean Cunningham’s Horror, Inc. however, refutes this, and that’s why we are where we are. While all of us were focusing on Friday, I checked in on the status of another iconic slasher, one who lays dormant in Springwood, OH.

What I discovered is that Wes Craven‘s Estate pulled a similar maneuver this year and regained the U.S. rights to both A Nightmare on Elm Street and its red and green sweater/fedora-wearing dream demon, Freddy Krueger. Long story short, the law is that writers can reclaim ownership of their work after 35 years, and 2019 marks 35 years since Elm Street was released. Like Victor Miller, Craven’s estate was, therefore, able to legally reclaim ownership of the original film this year, which was of course written and directed by the late Wes Craven.

The implications are unknown to me as I’m not a lawyer, but the good news is that there appears to be no third party standing in the way of Craven’s estate from making deals for the franchise or the iconic slasher. In other words, there’s no current legal battle over the rights, allowing Craven’s estate control over the franchise’s future here in the States. From what I understand, WB/New Line Cinema still controls international rights, much like Friday the 13th.

More as we learn it.