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Jason Blum credits 'M3GAN's wild success to post-pandemic desire to have fun at the movies

"There's been a real shortage of movies that are fun."

By Josh Weiss
Jason Blum M3GAN premiere GETTY

Since it first opened in theaters at the start of the new year, M3GAN has racked up more than $167 million worldwide (nearly $100 million of that figure comes from the North American box office) and a near-perfect score of 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. How did this modest techno-thriller about a killer doll defy expectations and become one of the biggest horror surprises of the last few years?

Jason Blum — who produced the movie alongside James Wan — has a solid theory that the film's wild success can be chalked up to a desire on the part of moviegoers for carefree entertainment in a world bombarded by bad news every other day.

"There's been a real shortage of movies that are fun," he told Empire for the magazine's 2023 issue (now on sale). "We're coming out of COVID, and I think sometimes Hollywood is a little tone-deaf, with all these serious, serious movies. Obviously, it's important to provide movies that make people think, but its' also important to provide an escape. And M3GAN is an escape."

RELATED: James Wan, Jason Blum, and Allison Williams agree: M3GAN would ruin Chucky in a fight

He later continued: "This has showed that in a post-COVID world, and a post-streaming world, if you tell a very clever, fun, interesting story, there's an audience who will go pay to see your movie."

Beyond the murderous mayhem contained within its 102-minute runtime, M3GAN (written by Malignant scribe Akela Cooper) does have something deeper to say about modern society, particularly where humanity's over-reliance on technology is concerned.

While we have never been more interconnected as a species, the nasty habit of staring at a screen for hours on end has, ironically, driven us further apart. The concept of a rogue artificial intelligence is terrifying yes, but there's also the worry of losing our humanity after spending so much time in the company of cold, unfeeling machines.

M3GAN stars Allison Williams (Get Out), Violet McGraw (The Haunting of Hill House), Ronny Chieng (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Brian Jordan Alvarez (Will & Grace), Jen Van Epps (Cowboy Bebop), Lori Dungey (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, extended edition), and Stephane Garneau-Monten (Straight Forward).

Williams was an executive producer on the project alongside Mark Katchur (Whiplash), Ryan Turek (Halloween Ends), Michael Clear (Malignant), Judson Scott (The Curse of La Llorona), Adam Hendricks (Black Christmas), and Greg Gilreath (Vengeance).

M3GAN is currently playing in theaters and available to rent/purchase on VOD platforms like Vudu. The unrated edition with special features arrives on Digital next Friday, Feb. 24, the same day it drops on Peacock. Fans who want to get their hands on physical media, will have to wait until March 21.

Looking for even more killer doll fun? Check out SYFY's Chucky series — the first season of which is now streaming on Peacock. The hit series (based on the long-running Child's Play film franchise) was recently picked up for a third season.