Jason Blum discusses his company’s upcoming reboot-quel of The Exorcist, promising to reinvent the franchise while staying connected to the original.
The Exorcist reboot will feel new while still being connected to the original, says Jason Blum. William Friedkin’s 1973 film, based in turn on the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, is considered one of the greatest horror films ever made. Blumhouse Productions, founded by Blum in 2000, has become known for its output in the horror genre, generating both long-running franchises and creative, standalone projects.
Blumhouse offers its directors creative freedom on the condition that they keep budgets small, and their approach has significantly impacted the state of American horror cinema in the 21st century. The hits they produce generally provide massive financial returns, with 2007’s Paranormal Activity grossing $193 million worldwide against an original budget of $15,000, and the risk-taking permitted by these profits has kickstarted the careers of filmmakers like Jordan Peele and Leigh Whannell. Their growing reputation for competence has allowed them to start revisiting classic horror properties, which so far includes 2018’s Halloween and 2020’s The Invisible Man.
The company has since started development on a trilogy of films rebooting The Exorcist, and in an interview with CinePop, Blum expresses confidence in his approach. He says they intend to do for Friedkin’s film what they did for Carpenter’s Halloween, and wipe the slate of sequels clean to rediscover what is interesting and successful about the original. This is evidenced, Blum says, by having the same creative team tackle this project:
What I hope to do with The Exorcist is the same thing we did with Halloween, you know. Halloween, the first movie was great, and the second movie was okay, and the rest of them were not very good. And then we came in and kind of re-jiggered it, and people liked it, so I hope we can do the same thing with The Exorcist. Everyone thinks we're gonna fall on our face, but I think, we have the same filmmaker, the same writer, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride. And I think we'll reinvent The Exorcist so that it'll feel fresh, new, different, but, you know, related to the first movie, but also really, really scary.
Elsewhere in the interview, Blum discusses the success of Whannell’s The Invisible Man, and says that he would someday like to pursue a sequel. He also confirms that control of the Dark Universe, a collection of films based on Universal’s classic movie monsters, has not been turned over to him and remains with the major studio. He does say, however, that Blumhouse will make more Dark Universe movies.
It’s understandable for horror fans to be nervous about an Exorcist reboot, given how the first film is revered, but Blumhouse’s track record should encourage viewers to keep an open mind. David Gordon Green’s Halloween developed an interesting dialogue with Carpenter’s film, and while it’s not considered on par with the original, it’s certainly the franchise’s best sequel yet. With Ellen Burstyn set to return in much the same way Jamie Lee Curtis did, this Exorcist trilogy could be another welcome surprise.