The Blumhouse Paradigm: How Jason Blum’s Formula Has Impacted Horror
As the lights in the theater dim, before the feature film commences, you stretch out, get comfortable, wonder how the majority of your popcorn is already gone, and make sure your phone is off, I hope. The opening credits start rolling with images of different companies involved with the production of the film. Sounds like yet another night at the movies.
The scene I described is one I’m all too acquainted with at this juncture on my quest for 100. A24, Blumhouse Productions, Bron Studios, and Neon are a few production companies whose work I’m continuously intrigued by. Nevertheless, it’s the Blumhouse paradigm that has disrupted the industry.
Started by Jason Blum in 2000, Blumhouse has mastered making low-budget films profitable. However, don’t let the low budget model detract from the quality or creative freedom their directors exhibit. Blumhouse’s approach has brought movies to fruition that easily would’ve never happened, if not for their belief that low budget does not equal low quality.
Blumhouse + Horror
If you watched a horror film in the last 10 years, there is a good chance it was produced by Blumhouse. The first Blumhouse film I ever saw was Paranormal Activity. With a $15,000 budget, the film grossed $193.4 million worldwide. That film spawned five others, bringing the franchise total close to $1 billion worldwide against a $28 million budget.
Insidious, Ouija, and The Purge are other Blumhouse franchises that have been financial successes. Regardless of what you may think about their films, Jason Blum and his team have a formula that works. As a result, Blumhouse signed a 10-year first-look deal with Universal Pictures in 2014.
Although I’m not a huge horror fan, I do support the house that Jason built. After what M. Night Shyamalan did to The Last Airbender, I was vehemently against anything he created afterward. However, I gave Split a chance because of Blumhouse, and I liked the lead actor, James McAvoy. Learning that Split was set in the Unbreakable universe was a pleasant surprise. I suppose I’ll give Shyamalan another chance as the story continues with Glass being slated for early 2019.
Blumhouse + Monkeypaw
A month after Split, Jordan Peele’s Get Out took 2017 by storm. Like other Blumhouse films, it had a low budget ($4.5 million). With a worldwide gross of $255.4 million, it was the tenth most profitable film of 2017. Peele’s directorial debut earned his film four Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay, which he went on to win.
Peele has announced Us will be his sophomore foray into directing. We’ll have to “beware the ides of March” as the film is set to be released in 2019. In the meantime, his production company, Monkeypaw Productions, released the Spike Lee Joint, BlacKkKlansman. Similar to Get Out, one of the reasons BlacKkKlansman is horrifying is because it’s entrenched in present-day realities.
Blumhouse + Future
Although A Quiet Place, It, or The Conjuring were not produced by Blumhouse, they may not have been as successful without its impact on the genre. In addition to restoring faith in the horror genre, Blumhouse is also responsible for its resurgence.
It’s almost scary how successful Blumhouse has become. They have assembled a squad of compelling storytellers; they continue to create diverse content across multiple platforms. This year Blumhouse will be responsible for producing 12 films, 5 television and miniseries, 3 books, 2 documentaries, and 50+ podcast episodes. What started as a production company has morphed into a multimedia powerhouse.