After firing Johnny Depp, Warner Bros. aims to get its famous film franchise

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Last week marked the start of the historic libel trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Fairfax, Virginia.

Credit: ABC

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Depp is suing his ex-wife Heard for $50 million over a 2018 opinion piece regarding his alleged experience as a victim, then a survivor, of home viewing. Heard strikes back Corpse bride featured for $100 million.

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

johnny depp wears sunglasses
Credit: ABC

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Now, after firing Depp, Warner Bros. is looking to buy the franchise that put him on the map as a Hollywood actor. In 1984, 21-year-old Depp starred as Glen Lantz in the Wes Craven classic Nightmare on Elm Streetwhich first featured Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger.

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 buy the acclaimed horror franchise along with several other well-known movie properties:

The rights to Friday the 13th have become a quagmire, after writer Victor Miller halted the copyright transfer and sparked a dispute with series producer Sean Cunningham that spills over to the studio. Now, Jason’s slasher icon Freddy Krueger is among a number of properties that Warner Bros. would be negotiating to retain. By a relation to Puck, the studio is in negotiations to avoid losing the national rights to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Beetlejuice and Little Shop of Horrors, among others. Termination of copyright is part of the Copyright Act 1978, which extended the life of copyrights.

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

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the Copyright Act 1978 allows creators who have previously transferred their copyright to another person or entity to request termination of the transfer after 28 years.

If Warner Bros. succeeded in obtaining the rights to Nightmare on Elm Street, the studio will likely consider a total reboot of the franchise. The last movie was in the franchise was freddie (2010), and the chances of Englund, 74, reprising his role as Krueger seem slim again 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 renewed soon. As various 80s franchises – a great decade for both teen movies like John Hughes’ breakfast club (1985) and Pretty in pink (1986) and horror films – become eligible for termination of copyright transfer, reboots and revivals could become very interesting over the next few years.

More on Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard

Amber Heard (left) and Johnny Depp (right) on the red carpet
Credit: ABC

Related: Johnny Depp’s Legacy Is Being Tear Down

If you haven’t been following the ongoing Johnny Depp v Amber Heard case, in November 2020 Hollywood actor Depp lost his libel case against the UK News Group newspaper publication, The sunfor their report that he engaged in domestic violence – including taking a hostage during a Pirates of the Caribbean shoot in Australia — against the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom actress several times.

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow
Credit: Disney

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UK judge Andrew Nicol presided over the original proceedings and Depp later lost his right to appeal the original decision in the UK. The Jack Sparrow actor, for his part, has denied the domestic abuse allegations, with even his ex-partners, Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, repeatedly coming to his defense.

Depp was fired from his two highest-profile roles – his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s pirate franchise and as Gellert Grindelwald in Warner Bros. fantastic beasts series – due to the current situation.

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

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Currently, as reported, the former couple are appearing in court in their $50 million US civil lawsuit.

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