In 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.
“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 »
Syfy‘s miniseries Ascension continues Jason Blum‘s development of intriguing TV projects, and unlike the low budget horror thriller films he’s made his mark with, i.e. The Purge and Insidious, he admitted “The budget for this series wasn’t as low as some of my movies. I’m new to TV. My long-term goal is (creating) lower budget TV series.”
Chalk it up to the demands of the sci-fi genre. Originally Blum was looking to have the all the action for the 600-person deep-space travel story to take place in one location, just like his haunted house pics.
“We thought this was going to be a low budget show, but it grew to be the size of The Queen Mary. The scope of the show is enormous and the only way 600 people (in deep space) can live is if you have crops, and different living quarters,” explained Blum. Read More »
Ahead of the July debut of its first original scripted series, The Divide, WE tv has greenlighted a second scripted drama, thriller South Of Hell from Sonar Entertainment and Blumhouse Television. The series, given an eight-episode order for a 2015 premiere, comes from two of the top horror producers, Jason Blum and Eli Roth, in their first pairing. A supernatural thriller set in Savannah, GA, South Of Hell focuses on Maria Abascal, a demon hunter whose power stems from within. The premiere episode will be directed by Roth (Hostel). “As WE tv moves firmly into scripted programming, we are committed to presenting distinctive and engaging stories,” said WE tv President Marc Juris. “That is certainly the case with South Of Hell, a dramatic thriller that introduces viewers to an unforgettable character, supernatural themes and the battle between good and evil.” The premiere episode was written by Matt Lambert. James Manos Jr. (Dexter) is executive producer and showrunner. Blum of Blumhouse Prods (Insidious) also serves as executive producer, along with Gerard Bocaccio, who worked at Blumhouse; Sonar’s former CEO Stewart Till; his replacement, Gene Stein; and Roth.
Related: Stewart Till Exits As Sonar Entertainment CEO, Producer Gene Stein Named New CEO
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EXCLUSIVE: The live-action Jem And The Holograms movie is getting a little more truly outrageous with the addition of Oscar-nominated actress and rocker Juliette Lewis. Production is already underway in Los Angeles on the music-driven film, based on Hasbro’s 1980s animated series about a young woman who transforms into a pop star with the help of her besties and a pair of high-tech earrings.
Related: Jason Blum, Scooter Braun Prods & Jon M. Chu Team With Hasbro On ‘Jem And The Holograms’: Video
Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) is directing the modern Jem for Universal and the main cast has been set, with Aubrey Peeples as Starlight Music owner/manager Jerrica Benton aka Jem, Stefanie Scott as Kimber, Aurora Perrineau as Shana, Hayley Kiyoko as Aja, and Ryan Guzman as Rio.
Plot of the Universal pic sends online music sensation Jem and her Holograms on a musical adventure across Los Angeles. Lewis’s supporting role is being kept under wraps, so fans can speculate away on who she’ll play. Suffice it to say Lewis has singing chops and rock star experience, having fronted her band Juliette and the Licks until 2009 before going solo. Read More »
Radius-TWC has acquired worldwide rights to indie horror-thriller Creep, from Blumhouse Productions and the Duplass brothers. The microbudget two-hander stars Patrick Brice as a videographer who answers an online ad to film a stranger (Mark Duplass) in a remote mountain town for a personal project that turns sinister. Brice co-wrote the pic with Duplass and makes his directorial debut with Creep, which will be released later this year. It marks the first collaboration between Duplass and Jason Blum, who produced the film together and have pacted with Radius-TWC to turn the first film into a full trilogy. The second and third films already are in the works. “I’m a huge fan of the renegade tactics of Blumhouse and Radius, and I couldn’t be more psyched to partner with them on this utterly insane new franchise,” said Duplass. Following Creep‘s SXSW premiere, the duo spoke with Deadline about their surprise creative alliance (read it here). Radius-TWC is also releasing Duplass’s Sundance film The One I Love in August. The company’s co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego negotiated what I hear was a seven-figure deal with Submarine’s Josh Braun.
Related: Blumhouse Hit Machine, Indie Model Converge In Horror Pic ‘Creep’
Hasbro, Blumhouse Prods, Scooter Braun Prods and Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) are partnering to bring Hasbro’s 1980s cult classic cartoon series Jem And The Holograms to the big screen. Chu, Jason Blum and Scooter Braun made the announcement today on Tumblr and are asking fans to help in the creative process (see video below). Chu is directing from a script by Ryan Landels with production set to begin this spring. Mixing music, art, technology, and fairytale, Jem And The Holograms reimagines Jem for a whole new generation with themes of being true to who you are in a multitasking, hyperlinked social-media age. When an orphaned teenage girl becomes an online recording sensation, she and her sisters embark on a music-driven scavenger hunt – one that sends them on an adventure across Los Angeles in an attempt to unlock a final message left by her father. Hasbro, Blumhouse and SBP are producing. Chu is repped by WME, Principato-Young and Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder; Landels is with WME, Kersey Management and Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder and Hasbro is repped by WME. Check out the video:
Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum and filmmaker Mark Duplass aren’t the likeliest pair to join forces, but the microbudget horror maven and the indie veteran found common ground when they linked up just over a year ago on a found-footage pic Duplass was hammering out with director pal Patrick Brice. Creep follows the unfolding tale of a videographer (Brice) who answers a Craigslist ad to shoot video of a stranger (Duplass). The two filmed the pic on the fly shaping the story as they went. When Creep began looking like a horror pic, Duplass rang Blum, who then came aboard as producer. The film premiered last week at SXSW.
Blum, who made his fortune and his name on 2009′s game-changer Paranormal Activity, has seen his reputation as a hitmaker climb as audiences keep buying tickets for his insta-franchises including Insidious, Sinister, and The Purge. In a SXSW keynote speech, he lined out the secret to Blumhouse’s success: low budgets of $1M-$3M, directors with something to prove (and, often, bad studio experiences under their belts), no CG, no rebate-state shoots outside of L.A., and scale pay for cast and crew with a cut of the profits if the movie is a hit.
However Creep‘s future shakes out, Duplass is ready to embrace alternative channels of distribution. The actor-writer-director-producer got his start with his and brother Jay Duplass’ indie drama The Puffy Chair, one of Netflix’s early streaming success stories. He’s now produced and distributed nine more features using his own Blum-like formula developed over the past decade working in indie film. Creep is the first of their two features together, with Universal and Blumhouse’s Stephen King adaptation Mercy also on the way. Blum and Duplass explained their simpatico methods during SXSW: Read More »
The SXSW Film Festival is adding a series of daily keynote sessions to its 2014 lineup, led by a trio of forward-thinkers who “embody the DIY spirit, ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive” of the annual Austin fest. Lena Dunham, who launched her career out of SXSW with Tiny Furniture and came full circle last year with a panel on her HBO show Girls, is scheduled to deliver a keynote along with micro-budget horror whiz Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge) and Spirit Award-winning indie filmmaker Casey Neistat (HBO’s The Neistat Brothers, Daddy Long Legs). Each keynote session will be held at 11 AM from Saturday, March 8 through Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Here’s the first wave of SXSW panel announcements, including talks from the fest’s first-ever SXSports conference: Read More »
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 »
Dimension Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the horror thriller Peste, directed by Mark Tonderai (House At The End Of The Street) from IM Global and Blumhouse Productions. Octane, the genre division of IM Global — a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA — will fully finance the film which will be produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum. He has been on fire with modest budget genre fare that includes Sinister, Insidious, Paranormal Activity and The Purge. Blum is teamed with Sherryl Clark of Busted Shark (Cloverfield). Blumhouse International is overseeing foreign sales. BHI has a worldwide distribution and servicing deal with IM Global. IM Global CEO Stuart Ford, Charles Layton and Matt Kaplan are executive producers. Peste is based on Barbara Marshall’s original screenplay, which appeared on the Black List, the Blood List, and the Hit List in 2012. Discussions are underway for the lead roles with some top talent in consideration. In Peste, when a deadly virus invades their hometown, a teen documents her family’s new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister as society begins to crumble outside.
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 »
Here is something that surprises no one. Jason Blum has tweeted they will develop a sequel to The Purge, the $3 million Universal Pictures and Blumhouse film that grossed over $34 million and stars Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey. Sequel-ization seems self evident when a movie with that paltry a budget outgrosses the big-ticket summer competition at the weekend box office. The sequel also was somewhat telegraphed when it was named as a winner of the California Tax Credit Production Lottery. Blum has the enviable distinction of having four price-conscious franchises, the others being Paranormal activity, Insidious and Sinster. Pretty remarkable. Here’s the tweet:
The Purge 2 is in development @UniversalHorror #ThePurge
Related: #1 ‘The Purge’ Surges For $15M Friday And $34.5M First Weekend, #2 ‘The Internship’ Fetches $7M For $20M
Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse Productions is launching Blumhouse International to handle foreign sales on the company’s films. The new division has a worldwide distribution and servicing deal with IM Global and the two will introduce the new venture to foreign distributors in Cannes. Kicking off the slate are Sinister 2, the sequel to last year’s hit horror pic, and Stretch, a comedy thriller to be directed by Joe Carnahan who also produces with Blum. Tracy Falco is exec producer on the latter project and Leon Corcos is co-producer. Both films start production later this year. The new division will handle sales of films outside Blumhouse’s first-look deal with Universal.
Jen Yamato is a Deadline contributor.
Ryan Murphy spilled details at a screening last night for the season finale of FX’s American Horror Story. “The movie that I was most freaked out by as a child was this movie that no one ever saw called The Town That Dreaded Sundown… I was just starting to babysit my brother, and the ads for that would come on and I would get freaked out”, he told the audience. MGM’s modern take on the horror movie, based on Charles B. Pierce’s 1976 cult pic about real-life murders committed along the Texas-Arkansas border in 1946, will be produced by Murphy and his Normal Heart producer Jason Blum, with Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Glee, American Horror Story) in negotiations to direct. The project has a script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who produced and wrote episodes of Glee for Murphy, came in for rewrites on Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark and penned MGM’s October-set Carrie remake. The original pic adopted an Unsolved Mysteries-esque approach that could translate to the found-footage elements in Blum’s horror hit Sinister and his Paranormal Activity films. Murphy is repped by CAA. Gomez-Rejon, who served as second unit director on Ben Affleck’s Oscar-nominated Argo, is repped by WME.
Related: Blumhouse Acquires Duplass Bros’ Horror Pic ‘Peachfuzz’
EXCLUSIVE: Producers Mark Gordon, who is behind ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and CBS’ Criminal Minds, and Jason Blum, who is fresh off two hot movie openers with Sinister and Paranormal Activity 4, have teamed to executive produce half-hour comedy My Korean Deli for ABC. The project, produced by ABC Studios, studio-based Mark Gordon Co. and Blum’s Blumhouse, is based on the Ben Ryder Howe’s book. Geoff Moore and David Posamentier will write the adaptation, which tells the story of an American man who buys a deli for his wife’s Korean parents and now has to try to find the balance between his new job, his wife, and his overbearing in-laws. Mark Gordon Co.’s Gordon and Andrea Shay executive produce with Blum. Gerard Bacaccio oversees Blumhouse’s TV division. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off an $18 million opening-weekend gross of Sinister that was six times its $3 million budget, Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse has teamed with Sinister director and co-writer Scott Derrickson on a screen adaptation of the Stephen King novella The Breathing Method. They’ve secured an option on King’s work from the author, and the script will be written by Scott Teems. They haven’t yet set it for financing.
The novella was part of the 1982 King collection Different Seasons and is the only story in the volume that hasn’t been adapted. If focuses on an elderly physician named Dr. Emlyn McCarron, who recounts an incident in his career of a patient who was determined to give birth to her illegitimate child, despite her financial difficulties and the social stigma in the 1930s. The patient turns to the doctor because of the book he has written about the Breathing Method, a system to help women through childbirth. She grows close with the doctor, who finds that she is so determined to have the child through the method that she lingers on even after a horrific accident on the way to the hospital. Read More »
BREAKING: 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 »