Jason Blum Talks MERCY, Adapting Stephen King, What He Looks For in a Script, How He Picks Directors, Filming in LA, Working With The MPAA and More

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Now available on Blu-ray is Mercy, Peter Cornwell‘s feature length adaptation of Stephen King‘s short story Gramma, which follows a single mother (Frances O’Connor) and her two young sons as they relocate to a remote country estate to care for her ailing mother, Mercy (Shirley Knight).  Unlike most grandmothers, Mercy isn’t all candies and kisses on the cheek, and as her prognosis worsens the family learns shocking truths about the source of Mercy’s darkness.  Mercy also stars Chandler Riggs, Mark Duplass, Dylan McDermott, and Joel Courtney.

Nearly two years ago I joined a handful of journalists on set while they were filming Mercy in Simi Valley.  While there, we had an opportunity to sit down for a lengthy chat with producer Jason Blum.  This was my first time speaking with Blum (who I’ve interviewed a number of times since), and I was instantly struck by the clarity of his vision and confidence in his low-budget/high-concept business model.  Given how much Blumhouse has grown over the last two years, it’s fascinating to look back and see how on point Blum was in his predictions (the success of The Purge despite its summer release date, for example) and how faithful he has remained to the basics of the business model he describes here.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

THE PURGE 3 Officially Announced; James DeMonaco To Write and Maybe Direct

by     Posted 51 days ago

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I’m all for another installment in The Purge franchise.  While I thought the original film was an interesting concept in search of a better movie, this summer’s The Purge: Anarchy was leaps and bounds better in every way and essentially delivered the movie we wanted the first time out (I think Matt agrees with me on this one).  And I think the concept is actually very ripe for a franchise that’s consistently renewable and can be set in a variety of different locales with different actors and scenarios (though I’d prefer it if they didn’t follow up too much on the resistance from the last film).

So I’m welcoming the announcement of The Purge 3 as good news (thought we all sort of knew it would happen anyway, at this point its simple math given the budget and returns on these films).  Writer/director James DeMonaco will return to pen the script, though his participation as a director is not yet set in stone.  Hit the jump for more on The Purge 3.  Blumhouse, Platinum Dunes and Universal will likely release the film next year.  

THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN Trailer: The Phantom Killer Returns

by     Posted 77 days ago

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It’s been nearly 40 years since the town of Texarkana was terrorized on the big screen in Charles B. Pierce’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown, but now the Phantom Killer is back thanks to director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and producers Jason Blum and Ryan Murphy.

There’s bound to be skepticism when you’re getting a sequel to a film almost four decades later, but this new trailer actually plays well enough.  Hit the jump to check out The Town That Dreaded Sundown trailer.  The film is set to premiere at Fantastic Fest after which it’ll hit Beyond Fest and the London Film Festival before it arrives in theaters on October 16th.

THE BOY NEXT DOOR Trailer: Jennifer Lopez Gets Too Close to Ryan Guzman

by     Posted 79 days ago

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I’d have no problem with Ryan Guzman stalking me, but I guess when you’re married and have a kid, it’s best not to strike up a relationship with the young and extremely handsome guy next door, but that’s exactly what Jennifer Lopez’s character does in the upcoming film The Boy Next Door.

Lopez is actually also producing this one with Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions via her own production company, Nuyorican Productions.  Hit the jump to check out the very first The Boy Next Door trailer.  The film also stars John Corbett, Kristin Chenoweth and Ian Nelson, and is set to hit theaters on January 23, 2015.

Blumhouse Partnering With Ivanhoe and Phantom to Make Horror Films in India

by     Posted 84 days ago

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This is definitely some cool news.  Blumhouse has been on a tear in the U.S. over the past five years or so, releasing a vast array of low budget (but in some cases high prestige) horror films.  If you’re unfamiliar for some reason, they’re behind the Paranormal Activity, Sinister, Insidious and Purge franchises.  Now it appears as though they’re going to be expanding that ethos to India.  In a three-way partnership, Asian startup Ivanhoe Pictures will finance the projects.  India’s own Phantom Films will also be involved and has already attached director Anurag Kashyap to one of the films.  Blumhouse will primarily be more involved with the creative end of things and the films will be released under their banner.

These movies will be local-language films, which I think is certainly the right way to go in this scenario.  Hit the jump for more on Blumhouse bringing their brand to India.

Cast and Synopsis Revealed For SINISTER 2; Shannyn Sossamon and James Ransone to Star

by     Posted 105 days ago

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Sinister 2 is underway and will start filming next week in Chicago with Shannyn Sossamon as the film’s new lead.  Also, in a bit of good news for fans of the original film, James Ransone is returning as “Deputy So and So.”  Maybe we’ll even learn his name this time (or maybe not, I have a theory that they will find a clever way to hold back).  While original director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Deliver Us From Evil)  isn’t returning behind the camera, he did team with C. Robert Cargill (who also worked on the original film) to pen the script and will of course produce the movie alongside Jason Blum.  As far as a helmer is concerned, they’re entrusting the reins on this on to Ciaran Foy, who directed the excellent Citadel (definitely check it out if you haven’t seen it already).

Robert and Dartanian Sloan will be portraying Sossamon’s twin sons in the movie.  Hit the jump for more on Sinister 2’s cast and synopsis.  Focus Features releases the film on August 21st, 2015.

SINISTER 2 Will Haunt Theaters on August 21st, 2015

by     Posted 126 days ago

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Sinister 2 is just over a year away.  Focus Features announced today that the horror sequel will land in wide release on August 21st, 2015.  While original director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Deliver Us From Evil)  isn’t returning behind the camera, he did team with C. Robert Cargill (who also worked on the original film) to pen the script and will of course produce the movie alongside Jason Blum.  If you saw Sinister you can probably guess why there aren’t any announcements about Ethan Hawke coming back.

I really liked the first film’s use of imagery and I think the general mood of the piece was its most successful element.  So I’m glad that they’re entrusting the reins on this on to Ciaran Foy, who directed the excellent Citadel (seriously, seek that one out if you haven’t seen it already).  Hit the jump for more on the Sinister 2 release date.

Producer Jason Blum Talks THE PURGE: ANARCHY, Making a Bigger Movie, Frank Grillo, the Future of the Franchise, Going 100% Digital at Blumhouse, and More

by     Posted 128 days ago

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Now in theaters is The Purge: Anarchy, writer/director James DeMonaco‘s follow up to last summer’s surprise hit The Purge, which presented a horrific dystopian vision of a near-future America.  In 2022, under the guidance of the New Founding Fathers, every American is entitled to a yearly twelve-hour anything goes crime spree.  It’s an intriguing concept, rife with possibilities, and for the sequel DeMonaco expands on the most interesting ideas of the first film by leaving behind the relative safety of suburbia and focusing on class warfare in the blood-soaked streets of downtown Los Angeles.

I recently jumped on the phone for an exclusive interview with producer Jason Blum.  We talked about the endless possibilities of the film’s concept, making the world (and production) bigger for the second film, casting Frank Grillo, and how cinema’s rapidly evolving technological landscape is changing the way Blumhouse Productions makes films.  We also had a chance to catch up on a ton of his upcoming projects, which you can check out here.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

Jason Blum Strikes a 10-Year Multi-Platform Deal with Universal

by     Posted 129 days ago

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The Purge: Anarchy didn’t manage to match The Purge’s $34.1 million start, but apparently Universal Pictures is pleased with the film’s $28.4 million haul because the studio chose today to announce that they’ve entered a 10-year first-look production deal with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions that will also cover the NBCUniversal businesses, which includes the Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions divisions.

Blumhouse is responsible for a long list of micro-budget horror hits including the Paranormal Activity series and three others that are already under the Universal umbrella, The Purge and Insidious as well as Sinister, which is moving over from Summit to Focus Features.  The company looks to follow up that success with Ouija and the Jennifer Lopez-starrer, The Boy Next Door, next.  Hit the jump for more.

Jason Blum Talks INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3, IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE, SINISTER 2, AMITYVILLE, JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS, and ASCENSION

by     Posted 131 days ago

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Jason Blum is one seriously busy guy.  Over the last few years Blum has established himself as a force in the horror genre, turning out high quality microbudget films and setting up franchises with impressive constancy.  So far his major releases of 2014 include Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Oculus - he even had a hand in HBO’s The Normal Heart.  Next up is The Purge: Anarchy, which hits theaters this Friday.

While speaking with Blum about The Purge: Anarchy earlier this week I had a chance to catch up with him about a number of projects he has on the docket.  We talked about how Leigh Whannell is faring as a first time director on Insidious: Chapter 3, Scott Derrickson‘s involvement in Sinister 2, what he saw on the set of Ti West‘s In a Valley of Violence, bringing a new approach to Amityville, why he wanted to make Jem and the Holograms, and more.  He also talked about getting into the world of television with Ascension and what attracted him to the television format.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

Executive Producer Jason Blum Talks OCULUS, Found Footage Fatigue, AMITYVILLE, AREA 51, SINISTER 2, and More

by     Posted 232 days ago

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The horror flick Oculus tells the story of a beautiful antique mirror whose most recent owners, siblings Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites), are struggling to rebuild their relationship after the gruesome demise of their parents, 10 years earlier.  While the two attempt to uncover the truth, they also begin to turn on each other, as the malevolent supernatural force of the mirror infects their minds and reflects their own insecurities.

At the film’s press day, Collider spoke to executive producer Jason Blum, of Blumhouse Productions, for this exclusive interview about how much of a luxury it was to get to watch a completed film before signing on as a producer, why he would have passed on this project, if he’d only had the script to go on, what most struck him about the story, his favorite stand-out moments, the next possible step in found footage movies, and more.  He also provided updates and details on Amityville, Area 51, and Sinister 2. Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Mark Duplass and Blumhouse Teaming with RADiUS for CREEP Franchise; Will Begin Production on Second and Third Installments

by     Posted 233 days ago

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Mark Duplass got his start in very low-budget independent cinema with dramatic films like The Puffy Chair, Cyrus, and Jeff, Who Lives At Home, which he co-wrote and co-directed with his brother Jay Duplass.  Recently, Mark teamed up with producer Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions—the studio behind the low-budget horror movement that has spawned Paranormal Activity, The Purge, and Sinister franchises—for a different kind of low-budget feature: a psychological horror film called Creep.  The film revolves around a man (Patrick Brice) who answers a cryptic online ad asking for a filming service.  He arrives at a remote location and begins filming his subject, Josef (Duplass), but as the day goes on, he begins to suspect Josef isn’t really who he says he is.

The pic recently debuted at the SXSW Film Festival to a positive response, and not only has RADiUS-TWC now picked the film up for distribution, but it has also signed on to carry out a trilogy of Creep films.  Hit the jump for more on the latest horror franchise.

Producer Jason Blum Talks THE PURGE: ANARCHY, Future Sequels, and the Possibility of Releasing a PURGE Movie Every Year

by     Posted 237 days ago

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The Purge was one of 2013′s sleepers, and Blumhouse Productions doesn’t wait to jump on sequel opportunities.  Their surprise hits—Paranormal Activity and Insidious—both got sequels, Sinister 2 is in development, and The Purge: Anarchy is due out on July 18th.

We recently spoke to Blumhouse Productions head Jason Blum for his latest film Oculus.  During the interview, Blum also talked about The Purge franchise, how they wanted to expand on the original Purge, how he can see a new Purge movie coming out every year like they do with the Paranormal Activity franchise, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Producer Jason Blum Explains Why Joe Carnahan’s STRETCH Lost Its Release Date and When We Might See the Movie

by     Posted 237 days ago

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I was incredibly bummed when Joe Carnahan‘s Stretch was pulled from the calendar.  I’m a huge fan of the director (The Grey was my favorite film of 2012), and Stretch has a catchy premise: Patrick Wilson plays a chauffeur who picks up a difficult and devious billionaire, played in a cameo by Chris Pine.  As the night goes on, their interaction leads to increasingly dangerous encounters.  Jessica Alba, Brooklyn DeckerEd Helms, and Ray Liotta also appear in the film.  The movie was supposed to have a wide release, but Universal concluded it would be unwise to spend $20 million to $40 million to distribute the movie, so they dropped it.

Yesterday, we spoke with producer Jason Blum for his new film, Oculus, and he also provided an update on the status of Stretch, and when we might finally see the film.  Hit the jump for more.

Producer Jason Blum Talks JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS; Reveals PG Adaptation Starts Shooting in 3 Weeks

by     Posted 238 days ago

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Director Jon M. Chu and producers Jason Blum and Scooter Braun recently announced they were making a Jem and the Holograms movie and even asked for fan submissions to help cast the picture.  It turns out they were further along in the process than I ever would have guessed.

Earlier today we caught up with Blum to talk about the horror flick Oculus, and towards the end of the interview we asked about Jem.  Blum says the movie will be PG and start shooting in just three weeks.  The producer also explained why this cartoon adaptation fits his business model when he’s usually associated with horror fare.  Check out everything Blum had to say about Jem and the Holograms after the jump.

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