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Universal, Blumhouse Extend To Decade-Long Film, TV Production Pact

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 4:23pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal, Blumhouse Extend To Decade-Long Film, TV Production PactIn the wake of another strong finish for a Blumhouse genre film, The Purge: Anarchy, Universal Pictures and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions have made a new 10-year first-look production agreement. This will include Blumhouse partnerships with NBCUniversal businesses, including Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions. Blumhouse will bring its Sinister franchise to Focus Features, making Universal home to three of the company’s most profitable micro-budget franchises, including The Purge and Insidious, which is already based at Focus. The announcement was made by Universal chiefs Jeff Shell and Donna Langley and Blum.

jason blum“This studio has had an incredible experience working with Blumhouse and it only makes sense to broaden that partnership to NBCUniversal’s broadcast and cable networks,” said Shell. “Jason and his team bring an energy and focus that can be felt across the company and we are thrilled to honor his passion for entertainment with a long term commitment and extension of that relationship.”

Langley brought Blum over to the studio in 2011. “Jason founded a company in Blumhouse that is unique and cutting edge, and we’re honored that they call Universal home. Jason is extremely driven and highly creative. His style coupled with his industry relationships and strategic business model have been a recipe for much success between our companies. We … Read More »

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Akiva Goldsman To Direct Horror Film ‘Stephanie’

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 8:54am PDT

Akiva Goldsman To Direct Horror Film ‘Stephanie’EXCLUSIVE: Akiva Goldsman is stepping behind the camera again, this time to bring a horror film to the big screen with Stephanie — a story about a little girl with unworldly abilities who was abandoned before a man and a woman show up claiming to be her parents, thereby interrupting her mysterious world. A fall start is being eyed.

Goldsman, of course, is the Academy Award-winning screenwriter behind A Beautiful Mind and one of the many producers on Lone Survivor which Universal released last Christmas to critical and commercial acclaim. He also co-scripted Insurgent and Allegiant: Part 1, the next two pictures in the Divergent trilogy series for Lionsgate. He also exec produced Paranormal Activity 2, 3 and 4 with Blumhouse, which is one of the producers of this film. Horror fare can be extraordinarily profitable at the box office because their budgets are usually lower and the genre itself tends to have rabid fans. Read More »

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Ciaran Foy To Direct ‘Sinister’ Sequel

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 4:55pm PDT

Blumhouse and Entertainment One have inked Ciaran Foy to helm Sinister 2, the sequel to the micro-budget horror movie. Production starts in July on the follow to the Lionsgate/Summit pic, which starred Ethan Hawke and grossed more than $77M worldwide on a budget of $3M. Foy’s first writer-director effort, Citadel, won the Midnighter Audience Award at SXSW in 2012. That pic (check out the trailer for it below) carries some of the same DNA as the original Sinister, which starred Hawke as a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a supernatural nightmare. Scott Derrickson, who directed the original and co-wrote the script with C. Robert Cargill, announced Foy got the gig today on his Twitter feed:

Derrickson and Cargill are back as co-writers for the sequel. eOne is financing and Blumhouse International is handling foreign sales via a worldwide distribution and servicing deal with IM Global. Executive producers are Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Charles Layton, and Xavier Marchand and Patrice Théroux for eOne.

Here’s the Citadel trailer:

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Relativity Moves Horror Pic ‘Oculus’ Out Of Easter Weekend

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 2:52pm PST

OculusAnd now there are five movies opening wide the weekend before Easter. Relativity has shifted Oculus from April 18 — where it slotted the horror pic only a month ago — to April 11, adding to an already-crowded frame. The Blumhouse film starring Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff now will open against Fox’s toon sequel Rio 2, Lionsgate’s Kevin Costner football drama Draft Day, Open Road’s Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner Sabotage and the Weinstein Company’s Bill Murray pic St. Vincent De Van Nuys. Mike Flanagan directs Oculus, about a pair of grown siblings who set out to expose and destroy the haunted mirror they believe was responsible for their parents’ murder a decade earlier. Flanagan and Jeff Howard wrote the script. The film was developed and produced by Intrepid Pictures, which co-financed with MICA Entertainment.

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AFM: Isla Fisher, Ellen Barkin, Jim Parsons Haunt Blumhouse Thriller ‘Visions’

By | Friday November 8, 2013 @ 7:42am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Blumhouse continues to refine its micro-budget genre formula, and it looks like one evolving factor is the casts are getting better. Jason Blum’s division is negotiating with Isla Fisher, Ellen Barkin and Jim Parsons to star in Visions, a Kevin Greutert-directed thriller that Blumhouse International is selling at AFM. In the Lucas Sussman-scripted film, a pregnant woman joins her husband at his vineyard home and begins to have unsettling visions that get increasingly more realistic and terrifying.

Fisher’s coming off Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, Barkin is starring with Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez in the Roberto Duran pic Hands Of Stone, and Big Bang Theory‘s Parsons wrapped Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here. They are all repped by CAA. Barkin is additionally repped by Untitled after she signed there last week.

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Fright Factory Blumhouse Sets ‘Insidious 2′ Follow-Up: Aaron Eckhart-Starrer ‘Incarnate’

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 2:32pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After Insidious: Chapter 2 grossed eight times its $5 million budget on its opening last weekend, the film’s producer, Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum, has set the company’s next launch at another horror film franchise. Incarnate will go into production in November, with Aaron Eckhart starring and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island‘s Brad Peyton directing a script by Ronnie Christensen. The plot: an unconventional exorcist who can tap into the subconscious of the possessed meets his match when a 9-year-old boy is possessed by a demon from his past. Blumhouse and IM Global will co-finance the film. Blum is producing, and Couper Samuelson exec producing with Michael Seitzman and Trevor Engelson. Foreign sales will be overseen by Cynthia Kim, who recently joined Blumhouse International as senior veep of International Sales and Distribution. Peyton, Stuart Ford and Charles Layton are also exec producers.

Blum has put together an enviable track record in the low-cost horror game. Besides Insidious, he presides over the Paranormal Activity and Sinister franchises as well as The Purge, the latter a $3 million film which opened to a $34 million weekend in June, finishing with a $64 million domestic gross. Blumhouse has its first-look deal with Universal but Incarnate hasn’t yet been set for distribution. Hard to imagine the studio won’t jump on this because these low-cost genre films keep minting money … Read More »

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Universal And Blumhouse Set ‘Stretch’ As Follow Up To Micro-Hit ‘Purge’; Joe Carnahan Directs

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has signed on to distribute North American and U.K. on Stretch, the Joe Carnahan-directed action comedy from Blumhouse Productions. It will be released March 21, 2014. The film, which stars Patrick Wilson, Ed Helms, Chris Pine and Brooklyn Decker, becomes the second micro-budget genre movie in the first-look deal that Jason Blum’s Blumhouse signed with the studio. They got off to a flying start on that deal with The Purge, the $3 million film that was released June 7 and so far has grossed north of $55 million domestic, with a sequel in the works.

Universal has set a March 21 release date for the under-$5 million Stretch, which stars Wilson as a limo driver who discovers he only has one shift left to pay off a big debt, and he rolls the dice. When the chauffeur picks up a reclusive billionaire (Pine) with some deviant appetites, the driver vows to fulfill the guy’s every request, no matter how weird, to score the big tip that could square him. But as the night grows stranger and the driver is pushed into some very dangerous encounters, he worries that the freak in his back seat might just be his final fare. Blum is producing, and so are Carnahan and Tracy Falco. Leon Corcos and Nila … Read More »

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‘Sinister’ Sequel Brewing As Blumhouse Eyes Hat Trick Of Micro-Budget Franchises

By | Friday March 1, 2013 @ 12:11pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse Productions is moving forward on its third micro-budget franchise with Sinister 2, the sequel to last year’s horror pic that grossed more than $87M worldwide off of a $3M budget. The move to build the Sinister franchise follows in the footsteps of Blumhouse’s successes with the Paranormal Activity and Insidious series of ultra-low-budget genre hits.

I understand that all of the major behind-the-scenes players are back for Sinister 2, including creators Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. They wrote the original, which Derrickson also directed. Thinking is that they’ll write the sequel, and I hear director conversations are in the works. Blum will produce as will Derrickson. (Blumhouse and Derrickson are also working on a screen adaptation of Stephen King novella The Breathing Method.)

The original Sinister starred Ethan Hawke as a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a supernatural nightmare. Cast and story for the sequel are being kept under wraps. Read More »

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Sundance: Blumhouse Acquires Duplass Bros’ Found-Footage Horror Pic ‘Peachfuzz’

Found-footage horror specialist Blumhouse has acquired Peachfuzz from producers Mark and Jay Duplass and directed by first-timer Patrick Brice. The plot is mostly under wraps but follows a man who answers a Craigslist ad with unexpected results; Mark Duplass co-wrote the script and also stars. The deal closed yesterday at Sundance ahead of the film festival that starts today. The pic was not ready in time for the fest lineup, so the filmmakers offered up a poster and some scenes for buyers. Blumhouse jumped on it, and now it can be finished, with the Universal-based production company set to partner and collaborate with the brothers on the film and its distribution and marketing. The deal was negotiated by Submarine’s Josh Braun, who will serve as an executive producer. Read More »

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David R. Ellis To Helm Blumhouse Thriller ‘Sprawl’

By | Thursday November 15, 2012 @ 1:28pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David R. Ellis is set to direct Sprawl, a horror thriller that Jason Blum’s Blumhouse is setting up to begin production early next year. The film is expected to go through Blumhouse’s deal with Universal, but that is still formalizing itself. Ellis, who last helmed Shark Night 3D, is repped by Paradigm and Principato Young. Jordan Goldberg & Alex Paraskevas wrote the script.

I’ve always gotten a kick out of Ellis’ movies in that there is a wink and a smile behind all the gore he serves up, from the severed arm that concludes Final Destination 2 to this classic line by Samuel L. Jackson in Snakes On A Plane:

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‘Paranormal Activity’ Producer Scares Up New Haunted House Business

By | Thursday September 6, 2012 @ 5:38am PDT
Mike Fleming

(Los Angeles, September 6, 2012) Blumhouse Productions, the multi-media production company behind highly-successful and terrifying movies like the Paranormal Activity franchise, Insidious and the upcoming Sinister, announced today The Blumhouse of Horrors (www.BlumhouseOfHorrors.com), an innovative and frightening haunted house experience in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Read More »

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Universal Re-Conjures ‘Ouija’ And Sets 2013 Release

By | Monday March 5, 2012 @ 11:25am PST
Mike Fleming

Ouija Movie Release DateBREAKING: Universal Pictures, which jettisoned its Hasbro-branded project Ouija over budget, has brought in a reconfigured version of the film. The old version, which McG was to direct, had a budget north of $100 million. The new one will cost around $5 million, I hear. Get used to this kind of budget for studio genre films, particularly after the recent successes of Chronicle and last weekend’s Project X, a film which cost $12 million and grossed $21 million. Though it’s produced by Silver Pictures and Todd Phillips’ Green Hat, the picture has no recognizable actors and still crushed it at the box office.

Ouija will be produced by Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir, Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, and Blumhouse Productions. The latter addition explains a lot. Blumhouse is Jason Blum, the Paranormal Activity producer who signed a first look deal at Universal, and has brought it back in line with the kind of budgets he worked on with his films Paranormal Activity and Insidious. Now, Platinum Dunes has made low-cost/high-gross horror remakes like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror, but in today’s Hollywood economy, a $100 million for Ouija is just out of touch. To put it in perspective, when Universal made a gargantuan deal with Hasbro several years ago, $5 million was the penalty payment due Hasbro if the studio didn’t meet certain deadlines. That … Read More »

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Universal Sets Ethan Hawke For ‘Vigilandia’

By | Thursday January 12, 2012 @ 11:02am PST
Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures has teamed with Blumhouse Productions, Platinum Dunes Productions and Why Not Productions on Vigilandia, a futuristic thriller written and directed by James DeMonaco. Ethan Hawke will star in the low-budget project, which starts shooting February 13. It’s the first project from the first-look deal Universal gave to Jason Blum to produce low-budget genre films. Blum, Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form will produce. Sebastien Lemercier is exec producer. DeMonaco scripted The Negotiator and Assault On Precinct 13, the latter of which starred Hawke.

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