Jason Blum has discovered a way to take unwanted films, produce them with a low budget, and walk away from the theater laughing with pockets filled with money. His work through his production company, Blumhouse, has become reliable enough that Universal has staked him for a 1o-year deal to balance out the blockbuster and family films they release.
Blum went into filmmaking, looking for the reaction from people. His father owned an art gallery and it frustrated Blum that “the world was tiny, and to appreciate contemporary art, [people] needed a history of art, a formal education.” Movies reach many people and, especially with the horror genre, the instant connection and reaction is visibly present, quite the opposite of what he grew up with.
With his production company, he developed a formula that helps everyone involved. The budget starts with $5 million, more for sequels. If the project stays under that budget, they keep the remaining balance as well as creative control. Blumhouse will provide a guide to filmmakers on how to get more commercially appealing results. However, the filmmaker still has the final say.
They do not provide a release date for the films until it is finished and the production company sees the final result and decides whether to move forward or to shelve it. And that is a possibility.
This works. Blumhouse has nearly $2.8 billion in box office grosses, TV studio productions, and book releases. Since they are not spending a lot, it allows them to pick up the projects no other company sees fit to do.
And Blum is proud of that: “It’s the great thing about the movie business. Most of the successful movies we’ve done, no one else wanted to do.”
So far, Blumhouse is having a good year. They’ve had two huge box office hits – M. Night Shyamalan’s Split and Jordan Peele’s Get Out, plus J.D. Dillard’s Sleight and recently premiered Akiva Goldsman’s Stephanie. And it appears this mini power house has no signs of slowing down. Let’s take a look and see what Blumhouse is cooking in their kitchen.
Truth Or Dare
Truth Or Dare comes from writer-director Jeff Wadlow (Bates Motel, Kick Ass 2). Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) is finalizing her deal to star.
The story follows a college student in Mexico who is talked into playing a supernatural version of Truth or Dare. However, the game doesn’t stop there and follows her back home.
The screenplay is adapted from a story written by Michael Reisz, Wadlow, Chris Roach, and Jillia Jacobs. It will be produced by Blum and Blumhouse’s Couper Samuelson with Wadlow and Roach executive producing.
Only You will star Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo and is written and directed by Jacob Estes (Mean Creek). The plot is under wraps; however, it has been explained to be thriller involving time travel.
Blum will produce with Oyelowo executive producing with Couper Samuelson, Jeanette Voltron, and Jay Martin.
Oyelowo was nominated for a Gold Globe for his role as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s Selma. He will soon be seen in Paramount and Bad Robot’s new Cloverfield movie. He also voices Agent Kallus in the animated series Star Wars Rebels.
The upcoming survival horror film Sweetheart comes from Sleight director J.D. Dillard. It will star Hanna Mangan Lawrence (Containment, Spartacus: Vengeance), Benedict Samuel (Gotham, The Walking Dead), Kiersey Clemons (Dope), and Emory Cohen (Brooklyn).
The plot for this project is also being kept under wraps.
Blum, Bill Karesh, Dillard, Alex Theurer, and Alex Hyner will produce. The story was co-written by Dillard, Theurer, and Hyner.
Sleight was Dillard’s feature directorial debut and took in $1.7 million on it’s opening weekend. He is also currently attached to direct and co-write the remake of The Fly for Fox.
After the premiere of Akiva Goldsman’s Stephanie at the Overlook Film Festival in Oregon, the director and Jason Blum announced they were teaming up again for a new adaptation of Stephen King’s 1980 novel, Firestarter.
The novel is about a young girl with pyrokenisis and is used by a government agency who attempts to harness her powers as a weapon. It was made into a film in 1984 and starred a young Drew Barrymore.
Stephen King and Goldsman have had a long relationship. King has given his blessing for Goldsman to do this and will also receive a producer credit on the project.
Goldsman is writing the script with Scott Teems (Rectify). Goldsman also pointed out that they would be focusing on the original novel instead of the 1984 film adaptation. Other projects that Goldsman and Blum have worked on include Paranormal Activity 2, 3, and 4. He also wrote King’s adaptation for The Dark Tower.
No release date has been given.
Since the last two remakes of the Halloween franchise from Rob Zombie did not pan out like expected, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green are teaming up with Blumhouse to remake the classic horror film. They state their goal is to ground the series in a more realistic state.
According to McBride:
It was just very simple and just achieved that level of horror that wasn’t corny and it wasn’t turning Michael Myers into some supernatural being that couldn’t be killed. That stuff to me isn’t scary, I want to be scared by something that I really think can happen. So, for us, we were like we have to make sure that this is something we actually would want to see or else its’ not worth doing. We came up with a take that we thought was cool, and then we actually went and pitched to John Carpenter, and he loved it. He was into it. It was like insane to have his seal of approval and to have him respond to where we were talking about taking Michael Myers next.
Carpenter will join as an executive producer on the new film with Blumhouse Productions.
The series has had its ups and downs during the last twenty years. Even with the renewed interest of horror films in the late 90’s, thanks to Scream, Halloween only received a lukewarm reception, even with Jamie Lee Curtis making a reappearance.
Maybe this time around, McBride and Gordon Green can properly scare the audiences into the theater.
Spoiler warning for M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.
At the end of the multiple personality thriller, it was revealed that the film takes place in the same universe as the 2000 film Unbreakable. Now, Shyamalan has announced that Glass will be released next year and act as a sequel to both Split and Unbreakable.
He hasn’t revealed anything about the story, but that Glass will finally answer nearly two decades’ worth of questions about a possible sequel to Unbreakable, which will feature the return of Bruce Willis as David Dunn, Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass and how they interact with James McAvoy’s Split character and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke.
Shyamalan’s script has been completed. He will direct with Blumhouse producing. Currently the released date is January 18, 2019.
The success of The Purge franchise surprised many, showing that audiences were intrigued by the concept of a twelve-hour freedom from the law. The original film had a budget of $3 million and grossed over $89 million. The following two installments each earned over $110 million. Currently the fourth film will be released in July 2018.
However, Blumhouse has now announced they are teaming with Syfy and USA to also bring The Purge to the small screen.
Franchise creator James DeMonaco and Jason Blum spoke at the NBCUniversal’s upfront and described the series as “an entirely new chapter in America’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness.” Unlike the films, the series would focus on the other 364 days of the year and how the law affects the people.
The Purge television series will air on Syfy and USA in 2018.