• The
    Escape from New York
    remake has lost its latest directors.
  • Tyler Gillett has confirmed that he and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin are no longer involved in the project.
  • Directors that have previously been attached to the project include Len Wiseman and Robert Rodriguez.

The Escape from New York remake has lost its latest directors. The original 1981 movie was directed by John Carpenter and starred Kurt Russell as near-future Special Forces soldier Snake Plissken, who is tasked with rescuing the President (Donald Pleasence) after he is stranded on the island of Manhattan, which has been turned into a high-security prison. A remake of the property has been in the works since 2007, but it has been trapped in development hell with a revolving door of writers and directors, with the most recently announced filmmakers attached being Radio Silence’s Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin. spoke with Gillett and Bettinelli-Olpin while they were promoting the VOD release of their movie Abigail. During their conversation, the duo were asked if they were still in development on the Escape from New York remake and Gillett confirmed that they are no longer involved. He shared that, due to issues with the rights, “we just weren’t in a position to make the clock” and “we’re not attached in any official capacity,” though he seems to imply that they would still make the project if they were asked some time down the road. Read Gillett’s full quote below:

We are not, unfortunately. 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.

Will The Escape From New York Remake Ever Happen?

The John Carpenter Remake Has Had A Run Of Bad Luck

Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken playing with a lighter in Escape from New York.

After this latest disheartening update, it remains to be seen if the remake of the John Carpenter and Kurt Russell movie ever gets made. The project, which was originally announced in 2007 with Gerard Butler attached, has lost many directors and writers over the past 17 years, including Alita: Battle Angel‘s Robert Rodriguez, The Invisible Man‘s Leigh Whannell, and Underworld‘s Len Wiseman. Below, see a timeline of when it was announced that various filmmakers and studios were attached to the project or in talks to board it:






Len Wiseman

Ken Nolan

New Line Cinema


Brett Ratner (departed 2007)


Breck Eisner

David Kajganich and Allan Loeb


20th Century Fox


Robert Rodriguez


Leigh Whannell


Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin

Although the 1996 sequel Escape from L.A. was produced with Russell reprising his role, since that point the franchise has had a history of projects failing to come to fruition. In addition to the remake struggling to get off the ground, the franchise includes an unmade third Escape movie, a cancelled anime show that was originally announced in 2003, and a video game that stalled at around the same time. This stop-and-go development process may have happened because studios continue to be skittish after the sequel flopped, grossing $42.3 million against a $50 million budget.

Ultimately, the prospect of the Escape from New York movie ever happening seems bleak. If the current studio is facing rights issues, as Gillett implied, it’s entirely possible that the rights could lapse yet again. While another studio may step in to pick up the rights, this would just restart the same process from the beginning while the new rightsholder potentially focuses on other projects that boast stronger IP without fully committing their attention to the project.


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