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SYFY WIRE Jason Blum

Why Jason Blum calls 'The Exorcist' the 'riskiest' movie of his career

Jason Blum's playing high risk, high reward with the new Exorcist film.

By Matthew Jackson
The Exorcist: Everything You Didn't Know

Jason Blum is one of the biggest names in horror filmmaking thanks to his ability to cultivate movies that capture an audience and often overperform at the box office. From the 2018 Halloween legacy sequel to his breakthrough moment with Paranormal Activity and everything in between, he's a producer known for picking the right properties to gamble on, and he may have just made his biggest gamble yet.

Speaking to IndieWire's Screen Talk podcast last week, Blum called the upcoming Exorcist sequel directed by Halloween mastermind David Gordon Green the "riskiest" movie of his producing career so far. Blum and his Blumhouse production company came onboard as part of a major $400 million deal with Universal to make the new film, as well as two potential sequels, with a similar legacy sequel vibe as the one that relaunched Halloween. It's one of horror's hottest producers taking on a legendary franchise, which sounds like a solid bet, but for Blum, it's the price tag that makes it risky. 

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"The riskiest movie I have ever made for sure is not out yet," Blum said. "It’s The Exorcist. Just because it’s so expensive. Usually the bar to success on everything we do because it’s inexpensive is incredibly low. For The Exorcist, it’s high.”

Much like Halloween did five years ago, the new Exorcist film will pick up events decades after the original film, and follow a new family dealing with a new possession. Desperate for help, they turn to Chris MacNeil (the great Ellen Burstyn), who remembers all too well the events that rocked her family 50 years earlier. Burstyn has agreed to reprise her role for the film, and original Exorcist star Linda Blair is involved in an advisory capacity.

If done right, the film has all the makings of another Halloween 2018, which proved to be a runaway box office hit on the strength of Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode. But it's worth noting that Halloween 2018, like many of Blum's other hits, was made for a relatively low budget of around $10 million. Compare that to the massive price tag to secure the Exorcist production in the first place, and the risk goes up. Following up on his point, Blum noted that the risk is even higher for Universal Pictures, who took on the cost in the first place in a show of trust in both the franchise name and Blumhouse's track record.

“We’ve obviously already been paid, but it’s high risk for our partners," Blum said. "So when you ask me what the riskiest thing we’ve ever worked on is, I take that as for us or our financial partners. In the case of The Exorcist, that would be the biggest one, because it’s a high risk for Universal.”

The Exorcist arrives in theaters on Oct. 13, so we'll find out then if the risk pays off. In the meantime, if you want more Exorcist franchise fun, you can stream the underrated Exorcist III on Peacock right now.