‘Escape from New York’ Directors Abandon Long-Anticipated Reboot of Carpenter’s 1981 Classic

‘Escape from New York’ Directors Abandon Long-Anticipated Reboot of Carpenter’s 1981 Classic

© Rialto Pictures/Studiocanal

In what has been described as a “major setback” for the Escape from New York reboot, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have confirmed they are no longer working on the film. The film was designed as a reboot/sequel of John Carpenter’s dystopian movie that debuted in 1981.

Battinelli-Olpin and Gillett, part of the Radio Silence collective, blamed rights issues and scheduling conflicts for their decision. In an interview for ComicBook, they were quoted as saying, “We are not, unfortunately [attached to the project]. I think titles like that bounce around for a while and I think they’ve tried to get that out of the blocks a few times. I think it’s just ultimately a tricky rights issue thing. There’s a clock on it and we just weren’t in a position to make the clock, ultimately. But who knows? I think, in hindsight, it feels crazy that we would think we would, post-Scream, step into a John Carpenter franchise. You never know. There’s still interest in it, and we’ve had a few conversations about it, but we’re not attached in any official capacity.”

Carpenter’s original 1981 film envisioned a New York City of 1997, after Manhattan had been turned into a maximum-security prison. A criminal named Snake Plissken (played by Kurt Russell in the 1981 film) was deputized to rescue the president of the United States after Air Force One was shot down over the city by terrorists. Other cast members included Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasance, Isaac Hayes, and Season Hubley

Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett had been selected as directors for the proposed requel after their acclaimed work on Ready or Not in 2019 and Scream in 2022. Their most recent film, Abigail, is now available on Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Described as a “vampire comedy,” Abigail is about the kidnapping of the 12-year old daughter of a mobster and the scary things that happen when her captors are forced to collect their ransom by spending overnight with her in a spooky mansion.

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