Clive Barker will finally own the U.S. rights to the Hellraiser film and script by Dec. 19, 2021, although it's unclear who will own foreign rights.
After a contested battle in California's federal court, Clive Barker won the U.S. rights to his 1987 horror-classic, Hellraiser.
Similar to Friday the 13th's writer Victor Miller, Barker filed to terminate the grant of rights to his film via the Copyright Act of 1976 -- an act designed to protect artists who lack leverage when initially licensing properties so they can later renegotiate terms for fair compensation. However, the creator must first wait for 35 years before asking for creative rights. Barker's hellish wait will soon be over on Dec. 19, 2021, as reported by THR.
Starting on Dec. 19, 2021, U.S. rights to Hellraiser and its story -- including his The Hellbound Heart novella and the film's script -- revert back to him. However, one important stipulation to this win is the fact that Barker does not own the entire franchise, nor anything post-1987. Anything made between then and now is also not within his rights to own.
At the time of this writing, it's unclear who will own Hellraiser's foreign rights.
For horror fans, this is a mixed win as they've witnessed production studios, specifically Dimension Films, profiting off of Barker's mythos for years while also straying from his overall vision. With a Hellraiser reboot film in the works right now under Spyglass Media, it remains to be seen if the studio will push for it to debut before 2021 in order to not compensate Barker. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic threw a wrench into many production schedules, which might allow enough time to pass for Barker to receive compensation.
Dimension Films, a Weinstein-owned property, infamously marketed Barker's name when promoting Hellraiser: Revelations, claiming it was "from the mind of Clive Barker." Barker famously replied, "If they claim it’s from the mind of Clive Barker, it’s a lie. It’s not even from my butt-hole." He and other horror directors also clashed with Weinstein who pushed for the Hellraiser series to be more mainstream, work on a limited budget and have a PG-13 rating which ran contrary to the vision of Barker and others.
Meanwhile, Clive Barker will be returning to his world of Cenobites as an executive producer on HBO's upcoming Hellraiser television series, written by Mark Verheiden and Michael Dougherty. David Gordon Green, who wrote and directed 2018's Halloween and is writing and directing its sequels Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, will direct the series.
Based on Barker's novella The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser tells the story of extra-dimensional monsters known as Cenobites that arrive on Earth through a sinister puzzle box to torture and mutilate anyone curious or sadistic enough to open up the box and are led by the Hell Priest, Pinhead (Doug Bradley).