Movies & TV / News

Clive Barker To Regain Rights to Hellraiser Franchise

December 2, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Hellraiser: Judgment

The US rights to the Hellraiser franchise will finally be back in the hands of their creator in Clive Barker. THR reports that Barker successfully leveraged copyright law in order to regain the rights to the original film, which he wrote and directed based on his novella The Hellbound Heart.

Barker’s lawyers filed papers in California federal court confirming that he was able to recapture the rights to the film under the termination provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976. Those provisions allow a creator to reclaim the rights after waiting a prescribed period (usually 35 years for newer works) and sending a notice within a five-year window. Barker had done so, but producer Larry Kuppin had fought the attempt to regain the rights claiming that the terms of the original movie contract were to be construed under U.K. contract law.

The filing by Barker’s lawyers confirmed that he had settled the situation with Park Avenue Entertainment, who are currently in possession of the rights. The film will now revert to his possession as of December 19th, 2021. The sequels are not owned by Barker and thus cannot revert to him, but any future projects will need to have him on board due to his ownership of the original.

There are currently two Hellraiser projects in the works: a reboot by David Bruckner and a TV series based on the demonic Cenobites from HBO, with David Gordon Green set to direct. Barker was already set on the HBO show as an executive producer, but he is not yet involved in the reboot.

The original film was released in 1987 and starred Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, and Doug Bradley. It introduced the iconic Pinhead, played by Bradley, as the leader of the Cenobites who come to torment those humans who attempt to open a demonic puzzle box later named as The Lament Configuration. The franchise had four theatrical films and has seen several straight-to-video films since.