Jason Blum on Paranormal Activity, Batgirl

Blumhouse Productions CEO Jason Blum teased the end of the Paranormal Activity franchise in Locarno, where he will receive the Premio Raimondo Rezzonico for Best Independent Producer.

“It was enough. The last Paranormal Activity movie was awful,” he says. Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin premiered in 2021, with another installment currently planning a 2023 release.

“With ‘Halloween,’ we only had the rights to three films, so we said, ‘Halloween Ends!’ It ends at least for Blumhouse. Other things just feel like it’s time to put them to bed. It would come back if a director I love, like Scott Derrickson, said, “I have a great idea for a Paranormal Activity movie. But it’s not something I want to do [at the moment].”

However, he will be reunited with “Halloween” star Jamie Lee Curtis, who has signed a first-look deal with Blumhouse (“Not only is she a great actress, but she really gets the business,” he says, mentioning the upcoming one). series Sticky via a Maple Syrup Heist), while Helmer David Gordon Green will move on to The Exorcist.

“We are preparing for it. Hopefully we’ll do what we did with The Exorcist as we did with Halloween — do it in a fresh way that’s worth revisiting. And feels so different that people are glad we did it,” he notes, admitting that Gordon Green was the “first choice” to direct.

“He’s very good at respecting existing intellectual property and giving it a new twist.”

Blum also spoke about the recent “Batgirl” debacle, which has sent the industry into turmoil. The almost-completed $90 million film was released by Warner Bros.

“I was surprised by that, but I understood why they chose it. They have new management, so they want to start fresh and brand DC in a certain way,” he says. He points out that directors at Blumhouse Productions “trade big budgets for control.”

“We took the French authoring system and applied it to very commercial filmmaking. We’re giving them more control than they’re usually given in Hollywood, but they also have to give us something: a commitment to making films cheaply.”

“The way filmmaking works in the studio correlates with budget, the more expensive the film, the more time the director spends strategizing how to get his way. On a $200 million film, the director spends 80% of his time on politics and 20% on actually making the film. With our $4 million film, 100% of the time is spent making a good film.”

Such an approach allows for risks, he says, noting Derrickson’s The Black Phone, which he produced although he didn’t “get” the script.

“I thought, ‘Okay, so they’re on the phone in the basement.’ Hollywood is all about ego, so most companies say “no” when it’s so-so in the script. We don’t do that because our films aren’t expensive,” he explains.

“When the budgets are that big, the people in charge have to think the script is great and perfect before they say yes. But when it comes to amazing and perfection, I’d rather trust the director than an executive.”

Blum has already achieved his dream of “making a really expensive movie” starring Dwayne Johnson in Tooth Fairy and has never looked back.

“It wasn’t what I imagined,” he says. “I thought it would be fun. Instead, it was very political as 25 people decided what the tooth fairy costume should look like. When it came out, so did Paranormal Activity, and it was the best of both worlds: an independently produced film released by a studio. That was the beginning of the company.”

Still, it wasn’t Jordan Peele’s “Nope” $68 million budget that kept them from collaborating again.

“He didn’t want me to produce it. I would have! He wanted to do it alone, which is okay,” says Blum, who would have liked to have been behind The Conjuring films.

“People often say, ‘Congratulations on ‘The Conjuring’!’ And I say, ‘Thank you’,” he laughs.

Admittedly he wouldn’t produce an NC-17 film or work with a first-time director – “I’m not a film school. The studios select a first-time director from a director who has had two hits and two misses. I do the opposite” – Blum also spoke openly about the difficult balance between message and entertainment.

“Some companies say, ‘I’m going to make a scary film about global warming.’ It doesn’t work! I never say that we only look for “stories with a message”. Once you do that, no one watches your movies anymore,” he says.

“If there’s a burning desire I have very much to speak about political issues, I think the horror genre is a great way to do it. But first the movie needs to be fun and scary.”

And what scares Jason Blum?

“Donald Trump. Nobody is scarier.”

https://variety.com/2022/film/festivals/jason-blum-blumhouse-batgirl-paranormal-activity-1235335233/ Jason Blum on Paranormal Activity, Batgirl

Charles Jones

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