After Firing Johnny Depp, Warner Bros. Aims to Obtain His Famed Movie Franchise

in Movies & TV

dior johnny depp for sauvage

Credit: Dior

Last week marked the start of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s historic defamation lawsuit in Fairfax, Virginia.

johnny depp (right) and amber heard (left) on red carpet
Credit: ABC

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Depp is suing ex-wife Heard for $50 million following a 2018 op-ed piece regarding her alleged experience as a victim, and subsequent survivor, of domestic viewing. Heard is countersuing the Corpse Bride star for $100 million.

This civil case comes on the heels of Depp’s November 2020 libel lawsuit loss that cost him his starring roles in both The Walt Disney Company’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts Harry Potter spinoff series.

johnny depp wearing sunglasses
Credit: ABC

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Now, after firing Depp, Warner Bros. is looking to purchase the franchise that put him on the map as a Hollywood actor. In 1984, 21-year-old Depp starred as Glen Lantz in Wes Craven’s classic Nightmare on Elm Street, which showcased Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger for the first time.

johnny depp as glen lantz in nightmare on elm street
Credit: New Line Cinema

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A recent article notes that Warner Bros. is looking to purchase the famous horror franchise along with several other well-known film properties:

The rights to Friday the 13th have famously become a quagmire, after writer Victor Miller terminated the copyright transfer and kicked off a conflict with series producer Sean Cunningham that reverberates out to impact the studio. Now, Jason’s fellow slasher icon Freddy Krueger is among a number of properties Warner Bros. is said to be negotiating to retain. Per a report at Puck, the studio is in negotiations to prevent losing the domestic rights to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Beetlejuice, and Little Shop of Horrors, among others. Copyright termination is part of the Copyright Act of 1978, which expanded the life of copyrights.

nightmare on elm street freddy krueger silhouette
Credit: New Line Cinema

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The Copyright Act of 1978 allows creators who previously transferred their copyright to another individual or entity to petition to terminate the transfer after 28 years.

Should Warner Bros. be successful in obtaining the rights to Nightmare on Elm Street, the studio will likely be looking at a total reboot of the franchise. The last movie was in the franchise was A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), and the odds of 74-year-old Englund reprising his role as Krueger again seem slim at this point.

Freddy Krueger close up
Credit: New Line Cinema

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Puck also noted that other 1980s franchises, such as RoboCop, are likely to be up for renewal soon. As various franchises from the ’80s — a great decade for both teen films like John Hughes’s Breakfast Club (1985) and Pretty In Pink (1986) and horror movies — become eligible for copyright transfer termination, reboots and revivals could become quite interesting over the course of the next few years.

More on Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard

amber heard (left) and johnny depp (right) on red carpet
Credit: ABC

Related: Johnny Depp’s Legacy Is Getting Demolished

If you haven’t been following the ongoing Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard case, in November 2020, Hollywood actor Depp lost his libel lawsuit against U.K. News Group Newspaper publication, The Sun, for their report that he had allegedly engaged in domestic violence — including a reported “hostage” situation during a Pirates of the Caribbean shoot in Australia — against the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom actress on multiple occasions.

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow
Credit: Disney

Related: Divisive Amber Heard Blamed For ‘Aquaman’ Star Jason Momoa’s Divorce

British Judge Andrew Nicol presided over the original proceedings, and Depp later lost his right to appeal the original ruling in the United Kingdom. The Jack Sparrow actor, for his part, has denied the domestic violence allegations, with even his ex-partners, Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, speaking out in his defense at various points in time.

Depp has been fired from his two most high-profile parts — his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates franchise and as Gellert Grindelwald in Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts series — as a result of the ongoing situation.

captain jack sparrow (left) and captain teague (right) with shrunken head in pirates of the caribbean
Credit: Disney

Related: ‘Harry Potter’ Star Reveals “Chaotic” Replacing of “Canceled” Johnny Depp

At this time, as noted, the former couple is appearing in court in relation to their $50 million U.S. civil lawsuit.

Do you want to see Warner Bros. revive Nightmare on Elm Street?

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