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Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. The film concerns a group of teenagers who are murdered one by one while attempting to re-open an abandoned campground, and stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram and Kevin Bacon in one of his earliest roles. It is considered one of the first “true” slasher movies.
Prompted by the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween, the film was made on an estimated budget of $550,000. Released by Paramount Pictures in the United States (1980-2012) and Warner Bros. in the United States (2013-present) and internationally, the film received negative reviews from film critics, but grossed over $39.7 million at the box office in the United States, to become one of the most profitable slasher films in cinema history. It was also the first movie of its kind to secure distribution in the USA by a major studio, Paramount Pictures. The film’s box office success led to a long series of sequels, a crossover with the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and a 2009 series reboot….
Box office Paramount bought Friday the 13th’s distribution rights for $1.5 million, after seeing a screening of the film. They spent approximately $500,000 in advertisements for the film, and then an additional $500,000 when the film began performing well at the box office. Friday the 13th opened theatrically on 9 May 1980 across the United States in 1,100 theaters. It took in $5,816,321 in its opening weekend, before finishing domestically with $39,754,601. The film finished as the eighteenth highest grossing film of 1980. Friday the 13th was released internationally, which was unusual for an independent film with, at the time, no well-recognized or bankable actors; aside from well-known television and movie actress Betsy Palmer. The film would take in approximately $20 million in international box office receipts. Not factoring in international sales, or the cross-over film with A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger, the original Friday the 13th is the highest grossing film of the film series. To provide context with the box office gross of films in 2009, the cost of making and promoting Friday the 13th—which includes the $550,000 budget and the $1 million in advertisement—is approximately $4.4 million. With regard to the domestic box office gross, the film would have made $117,917,391 in adjusted 2009 dollars. In terms of recent box office performance, Friday the 13th would be the highest grossing horror film of 2008 using the adjusted figures. On 13 July 2007, Friday the 13th was screened for the first time on Blairstown’s Main Street in the very theater which appears shortly after the opening credits. Overflowing crowds forced the Blairstown Theater Festival, the sponsoring organization, to add an extra screening at 11:00 PM. The event was covered by local media and New York City’s Channel 11. A 30th Anniversary Edition was released on 10 March 2010.
Critical response Friday the 13th has received negative reviews from critics, with RottenTomatoes reporting that 59% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 49 reviews. Its most vocal detractor was Gene Siskel, who in his review called Cunningham “one of the most despicable creatures ever to infest the movie business”. He also published the address for Charles Bluhdorn, the chairman of the board of Gulf+Western, which owned Paramount, as well as Betsy Palmer’s home city and encouraged fellow detractors to write to them and express their contempt for the film. Siskel and Roger Ebert spent an entire episode of their TV show berating the film (and other slasher films of the time) because they felt it would make audiences root for the killer. Leonard Maltin initially awarded the film one star, or ‘BOMB’, but later changed his mind and awarded the film a star and-a-half stating “…simply because it’s slightly better than Part 2″ and called it a “…gory, cardboard thriller”. Variety claimed the film was “low budget in the worst sense—with no apparent talent or intelligence to offset its technical inadequacies—Friday the 13th has nothing to exploit but its title. ” The ending sequence of the film was listed at No. 31 on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments,and the film was voted No. 15 in Channel 4′s 100 Greatest Scariest Moments.
The film was nominated for AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills.
English film critic Mark Kermode opined that the first Friday the 13th film’s legacy is not that it’s a good, well-made film (it’s not, Kermode has argued) but that it successfully brought an aesthetic mostly confined to grindhouse cinema, at least up until that time, into mainstream cinema. “There was a novelty of seeing a film that scrappy and that nasty being distributed by a big studio in a mainstream cinema. You were watching a nasty, grimy movie but in plush seats, in kind of polite surroundings. That was what made it something special, something that hadn’t been seen before”, Kermode recalled.
Sequels As of 2009, Friday the 13th has spawned nine sequels, including a crossover film with A Nightmare on Elm Street villain Freddy Krueger. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) introduced Jason Voorhees, the son of Mrs. Voorhees, as the primary antagonist, which would continue for the remaining sequels (with exception of the fifth movie) and related works. Most of the sequels were filmed on larger budgets than the original. In comparison, Friday the 13th had a budget of $550,000, while the first sequel was given a budget of $1.25 million. At the time of its release, Freddy vs. Jason had the largest budget, at $25 million. All of the sequels repeated the premise of the original, so the filmmakers made tweaks to provide freshness. Changes involved an addition to the title—as opposed to a number attached to the end—like “The Final Chapter” and “Jason Takes Manhattan”, or filming the movie in 3-D, as Miner did for Friday the 13th Part III (1982). One major addition that would affect the entire film series was the addition of Jason’s hockey mask in the third film; this mask would become one of the most recognizable images in popular culture. Cunningham did not direct any of the film’s sequels, though he did act as producer on the later installments; he initially did not want Jason Voorhees to be resurrected for the sequel.
A reboot to Friday the 13th came to theaters in February 2009, with Freddy vs. Jason writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift hired to script the new film. The film focused on Jason Voorhees, along with his trademark hockey mask. The film was produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller through Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes, for New Line Cinema. In November 2007, Marcus Nispel, director of the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was hired to direct. The film had its United States release on 13 February 2009. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th_%281980_film%29
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