In 1980, Sean Cunningham took the ideas he saw in movies like Halloween and Black Christmas and added his spin to them. He created the story of a serial killer at a summer camp, and the slasher horror movie became the hottest genre in Hollywood. While the first movie wasn't about Jason Voorhees at all, he soon took center stage and became a horror icon.
Through the years, there have been 11 movies in the regular Friday the 13th series, one remake and a mash-up with A Nightmare on Elm Street. The films were almost all profitable, thanks to low production costs, and remained a staple of horror cinema for over three decades. Here is a look at all the Friday the 13th movies, ranked by their gross.
12 JASON X ($13.1M)
The last movie in the original Friday the 13th series did what most horror franchises do when they decide it's time to jump the shark. They sent Jason into outer space. What is interesting is that the movie was fun. There were great kills (the frozen face smash) and a lot of funny moments (the virtual reality Camp Crystal Lake)
There was also a moment where an armor enhanced Jason Voorhees battled a female cyborg aboard a spacecraft. Honestly, how could people not want to see this in theaters? However, almost no one went to see it as the movie grossed a low $13.1 million, a financial flop.
11 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN ($14.3M)
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan took the action away from Camp Crystal Lake, and fans didn't seem to like it. This movie, above all others in the franchise, shows the '80s at its gaudiest with big hair and fashion that died out just a couple of years later.
Jason boards a boat and kills people on board before the ship sets sail for New York City with a graduating senior class. He sinks the ship, killing almost everyone on it and then gives chase through the streets and subway stations of New York City. The film is the definition of guilty pleasure.
10 JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY ($15.9M)
Just like A Nightmare on Elm Street a few years before, Friday the 13th tried to telegraph the idea that Jason Voorhees was finally dying by dumping the Friday the 13th title and just calling the movie Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.
The movie decided to shake things up by having the FBI blow up Jason's body, which caused his spirit to possess the coroner and continue his killing spree in his body. It was the obvious direction as the films went from slasher movie to supernatural horror through the years. It made more money than Jason Takes Manhattan, but many hardcore fans didn't appreciate the supernatural aspects, and this ended things before he finally went to space in the future.
9 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD ($19.1M)
While Jason Goes to Hell made Jason Voorhees supernatural himself, the idea of a supernatural storyline was all part of Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. The movie was great as it gave Jason someone who could fight him head-on rather than having a bunch of kids running for their lives the entire film.
The film starts with Tina Shepard as a girl with telekinetic powers. She kills her abusive father while she was a young girl to protect her mother and that moment still haunts her years later. She unleashes her powers over Crystal Lake and accidentally revives Jason. The battle then starts.
8 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES ($19.4M)
There was a desire after the previous two movies to have a new killer take Jason's place, but fans dictated that the producers rethink that strategy. As a result, in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, Voorhees returns and heads back to the camp to start killing again.
This movie was the first in the series to make Jason a supernatural force that could return from the dead, where the previous films had logical, albeit outlandish, explanations on how Jason lived. The almost superhuman and powerful Jason appearing here is how he existed for the rest of the series.
7 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 ($21.7M)
Friday the 13th Part 2 was the introduction of Jason Voorhees to the franchise. The first movie had a surprise twist when it turned out the killer was not Jason at all. Plus, outside of a dream sequence at the end with Jason coming out of the water, it had nothing to do with the hulking murderous slasher.
Not only that, but most of this movie saw Jason wearing a burlap sack over his head, and he doesn't pick up the hockey mask until late in the film. This was a traditional slasher movie, with Jason hunting down each kid one by one and killing them in creative ways. It was a huge success, grossing over $21 million domestically.
6 FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING ($21.9M)
Arguably, the most hated movie in the Friday the 13th franchise came with Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Outside of the first movie, this was the first one that did not feature Jason Voorhees at all. Instead, this was supposed to start a new trilogy that had a new serial killer in the hockey mask.
Jason died in the last movie, and since he was not supernatural yet, that was it for him. However, fans still held out hope, and when the hockey-masked killer returned, it looked like Jason -- but it wasn't. The movie ended with Tommy Jarvis seeming to take on the role of Jason next, but ignored that when the next film came to theaters.
5 FRIDAY THE 13TH: FINAL CHAPTER ($32.9M)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was supposed to be the end of Jason Voorhees. As mentioned, Jason died in this movie, and he was supposed to stay dead. That is because Jason was, at this time, just a deranged serial killer who bled just like anyone else. As the title suggests, this was supposed to be the end.
However, the movie grossed a massive $33 million on a budget of $2.6 million, so the studio refused to end the story here. However, the bad reviews of the follow-up and audience disappointment that Jason was gone in the next movie meant that Jason's death here was only temporary.
4 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III ($34.5M)
Friday the 13th Part III suffered from a gimmick. The movie was shot entirely in 3D, and this was not the great looking 3D that audiences currently see, it was the red and blue glasses that made most everything in the movie a strange blur.
The movie used it as a gimmick with Jason lunging at the audience and seeming to burst through the screen. It wasn't a complete failure though, as fans showed up with a total $34.5 million box office gross domestically. It knocked ET from the top of the charts but ended up with negative reviews despite its nice box office take.
3 FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) ($39.7M)
The first movie in the Friday the 13th series was the highest-grossing movie as well, and it had nothing to do with Jason Voorhees. Unlike future movies where fans watched Jason stalk his prey and then watched him dispatch of them in various gruesome manners, in the first movie, fans never saw the killer until the end.
That is obviously because the killer was not a giant deranged psycho in a hockey mask, but an older woman who had gone insane. Yes, the killer was Pamela Voorhees, a woman who blamed camp counselors for kids bullying her son and causing his death. The movie made $39.7 million and launched one of horror cinema's greatest franchises.
2 FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009) ($65M)
The highest-grossing Friday the 13th movie was the reboot in 2009. This doesn't seem fair due to the time difference, When adjusted for inflation, this 2009 remake falls to fifth, as the first and third movies in the series are $100 million entries if the ticket prices are adjusted.
However, for the actual number of dollars the movies grossed, this one is the top of the list for Jason's solo movies. The movie starred Supernatural star Jared Padalecki and Mentalist star Amanda Righetti and the film took the first four movies of the original series and took the best parts to create one film.
1 FREDDY VS. JASON ($82.6M)
The highest-grossing box office for a Jason Voorhees film came when Friday the 13th combined with A Nightmare on Elm Street to create Freddy Vs. Jason. Ignoring the future Jason in space and the death of Jason's body in Jason's Dead, this movie had Jason still around when Freddy got into his nightmares.
Using the visions of Pamela Voorhees, Freddy got Jason to start killing for him again. However, when Jason realized what was happening, he fought back and the two entities battle in the dreamland and then in the real world for an impressive $82.6 million box office take.