Jason Blum on Welcome to the Blumhouse and Ryan Gosling's Wolfman - VRGyani News and Media


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Jason Blum on Welcome to the Blumhouse and Ryan Gosling's Wolfman

The biggest problem with talking to producer Jason Blum is figuring out what you’d like to talk about. That’s because as the founder and CEO of Blumhouse Pictures, he’s produced close to two hundred projects in Hollywood ranging from Jordan Peele’s Oscar winning Get Out, to the film that put him on the map: Paranormal Activity. Over the past two decades, Blum has proven again and again you don’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make hugely successful movies that everyone wants to see.

With his latest project, the second installation of Welcome to the Blumhouse, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, I recently had the chance to speak with Blum. During the wide-ranging conversation, Blum talked about the success of the first series of films on Amazon, how he works with the streamer to decide what gets made, how for the second series of films that wanted to have them focus on underrepresented and marginalized people, and more.

Of course, with Blum so involved in other projects, we also talked about the status of the Five Nights at Freddy's movie, Bryan Fuller’s Christine, Wolfman with Ryan Gosling, other Universal monster movies, the Upgrade TV series, Happy Death Day 3, whose decision it was to have Halloween Kills come out in theaters and stream on Peacock the same day, John Logan’s directorial debut, and more.

If you're not familiar with Welcome to the Blumhouse, the four original movies are now streaming on Amazon and the goal of the series is to focus on underrepresented and marginalized groups of people. Another cool aspect of the series is they give many people their first shot at directing a feature. The films this year include:

Bingo Hell, directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero and starring Adriana Barraza, L. Scott Caldwell, Richard Brake and Joshua Caleb Johnson, is described as “a wickedly original horror movie with a fiendishly funny twist” about “a feisty senior citizen” who tries to stop a sinister figure who is threatening the residents of her low-income community.

Black as Night, directed by Maritte Lee Go and starring Asjha Cooper, Fabrizio Guido, Mason Beauchamp, Abbie Gayle with Craig Tate and Keith David, is “an action-horror hybrid with a strong social conscience and a biting sense of humor” about “a resourceful teenage girl” who is forced to battle a group of deadly vampires.

RELATED: 'Welcome to the Blumhouse' Season 2 Posters Tease Four New Horror Movies on Amazon Prime Video

Ryan Zaragoza’s Madres stars Tenoch Huerta, Ariana Guerra, Evelyn Gonzalez, Kerry Cahill and Elpidia Carrillo, and is about “a young Mexican-American couple expecting their first child,” who discover “strange and terrifying” secrets about the '70s California community that they've recently moved into.

And finally, The Manor, directed by Axelle Carolyn and starring Barbara Hershey, Bruce Davison, Nicholas Alexander, Jill Larsen, Fran Bennett and Katie Amanda Keane. The film is described as a “gothic tale of terror with a modern twist” about “the residents of a sleepy nursing home” being preyed upon by a “malevolent force.”

Watch what Jason Blum had to say in the player above or you can read our conversation below.

COLLIDER: You have produced a ton of movies and television shows. If someone had never seen anything you have made, what do you want them starting with?


That was an immediate.

BLUM: That was an immediate, because at best, it's the ultimate of what I'm trying to do. It's low budget. It's a director, who at the time, nobody believed in. It's scary, it's entertaining, it's well acted. And it has something to say. I mean, it's like the perfect Blumhouse movie in every way.

In the past 10 years, what has been the toughest project for you to get off the ground?

BLUM: There are a handful of them. There's a movie that looks like it's actually getting closer. But Stoner, I've had for over 10 years, which is a great American novel. There's a movie based on an article called Speck in the Sea, about these two fishermen, this great story of these two fishermen in Montauk, that I'm still trying to get off the ground. Those are the two front-runners of the hardest ever to get done.

RELATED: Jason Blum on ‘The Forever Purge,’ ‘Firestarter,’ and Why 'The Black Phone' Might Be Scott Derrickson's Best Film

Jumping into Welcome to the Blumhouse. Amazon doesn't really release numbers. I'm just curious, last year with the films that you released, how did they do? No one ever actually says it.

BLUM: Well, that's a great question, because I think it's very important. It's very important to me as a filmmaker to know how our movies performed. So they actually were very transparent with us about the performance of the movies. They don't say it publicly, but at least they say it to the filmmakers. And they were very transparent with us.

The movies did very well. They were very happy with them. Some did better than others. What they were most happy with is that they got new subscribers or subscribers who had discontinued, and they opened up their subscription again, which was great, which means we tapped into a different audience than all the other people working on all the other shows that Amazon was doing. And in terms of the …proof is in the pudding always. So I think if this next four movies performs as well as the last four, then we're going to continue to do this. I hope we'll continue for quite a long time. I'm quite confident that we will.

What did you learn making the films last year that you applied to these films?

BLUM: We'd set out to do eight movies by eight directors from underrepresented groups of people. What I wanted to do this year more than we did the first time around was not only choose the director, but have the actual movies relate to that. So have the movies be about marginalized groups. I think the four movies work more cohesively as a whole and that each of these movies is very clearly about a marginalized group of people onscreen. So underrepresented directors telling stories from a different point of view, from a point of view that people who look like you and I haven't felt before.

How does it work with Amazon in terms of ... You obviously have an amazing track record. After the first four films, are they like a little hands off? How much are they collaborating on which films are actually going to get made?

BLUM: They leave that to us, but I'd be very reluctant to make a movie... If they laid down on the tracks and said, "Please, don't do this." I wouldn't do it. But technically, they don't have the right to do that. I get to choose the movies. And so far, we've agreed. We've never had a case where I wanted to make something they haven't wanted to make.

One of the things that I really admire and respect about these films that you're making is you're bringing in a lot of new voices. A lot of them are first-time feature filmmakers, even though they've made shorts or whatever else. When do you know when you're talking to someone, they can do it, they can make a feature, and this is going to be good?

BLUM: You don't know until after they've done the movie, to tell you the truth. But you try and meet with them a few times. We have executives at the company who do that. You've got to go with your gut, but you never really know if someone can make a movie until the movie's done. You never know.

With the four films that are coming out in a few days and in a week, if someone has the time to watch one movie on a Friday night, which is the one you'd like them to start with?

BLUM: Of the four? I can't pick a favorite.

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It's not like anyone's going to watch this. Come on. I'm joking, obviously.

BLUM: But watch the first one that's on. If you like that, then watch the next three.

Something that everyone wants to know about is the Five Nights at Freddy's movie.

BLUM: Tell me about it.

What's going on with that?

BLUM: It's really tough to crack. We've written multiple scripts, and we've got where we're threading a needle, which is doing justice to Five Nights at Freddy's and making Scott (Cawthon) happy. The only way that we would go about it is giving Scott ... I don't want to do something that Scott doesn't like. Let me say that a different way. I don't have the right to do anything Scott doesn't like. Basically, Scott has kind of like the equivalent of final cut. And it's taken longer than I hoped to get the right story. But we're a long ways from giving up. And I'm confident, eventually, I will figure it out.

Is Chris Columbus still attached?

BLUM: Chris Columbus is no longer attached.

Do you have a filmmaker on it? Can you share?

BLUM: We cannot. That is classified information.

What's going on with Wolfman?

BLUM: Wolfman, we are also working on the script, got to get the script, right. In that case, it's Ryan Gosling not Scott Cawthon. But working on trying to get a script that he feels good about and comfortable about and excited about.

You are going into business with John Logan, who I'm a big fan of, and he's going to make his feature directorial debut with you.

BLUM: He's shooting it already. We started shooting.

What was it about that project that said, "I want to make this."?

BLUM: In reference to your first question at the beginning, it definitely felt like a Blumhouse movie. It's a scary, great, fun, entertaining movie. If anyone can write, it's John Logan. But it's also about something. So I was very drawn to that. We had made a documentary about conversion therapy called Pray Away. So it's a topic near to my heart, only in that I just find ... It's just one of those things. I find it extraordinary that in the United States that exists. I just find it unbelievable. And I think it's horrible. It should be illegal. It should not be allowed. The misery that these kids suffer going through it, I just find it very sad.

So, I want to shine a light on it any way I can. The documentary did, but not very many people saw it. So I'm hoping a movie, a lot more people will see. But just to be clear, I didn't pitch the idea to John Logan. He came up with it, he wrote that script entirely on his own on spec. When I read it, I said, "Oh, my God, I love this. We want to do it." But it was entirely his idea.

RELATED: Jason Blum Reveals ‘Paranormal Activity 7’ Is Already Finished; Explains Why It Had to Be a Reboot

I'm saying thank you for making the movie, because I also agree with everything you said. I'm also a huge Bryan Fuller fan, what's the story with Christine and him?

BLUM: We actually recently got a script, which was terrific. We're going to try and make it into a movie. That's my plan.

Do you think it could be filming next year?

BLUM: Never say never. I'm an optimist.

Another film you made that I love is Upgrade. Love that movie.

BLUM: Upgrade was a great movie.

It's so good. I know you guys have talked about making a TV series based on the material.

BLUM: Upgrade should have been a wide release. I was pissed about that. We're working on a TV show. So working on the scripts. This first round, didn't come out. I didn't get the response I wanted to get. I don't want to be in development. I want an order. We're working on the scripts again, so that we can get an order. And I don't want to develop it.

Halloween Kills is getting a day-and-date release on Peacock and in theaters.

BLUM: Yes, it is.

Can you sort of talk about how that came about, and I guess your feelings on it? Because a lot of us were surprised, but I also think Peacock needs movies like that to get people to sign up.

BLUM: Well, that's true. That's not why. It was my idea to do it. They didn't approach me. I approached them. I like everyone one else, am a big believer in the theatrical experience. I think eventually I think there should be windows. I think Universal's strategy of the three-week window is a great strategy, but I had a bad distribution experience with Freaky. That movie is a great movie, and it didn't get seen because the distribution of it got all twisted up. My fault. I didn't want to go through that experience again.

I didn't want to have a movie that I'm really proud of that I think is great and have there be an excuse why people didn't see it. So I'm the one who pitched Universal. Then I pitched Jamie and David, and it was my idea. I stand behind it. I'm glad that we're doing it. I don't want it do it for the third movie. I want to go back to traditional windows, but COVID is incredibly unpredictable, and I didn't want to risk it again. I felt like I did that with Freaky, and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. So I don't want to repeat that experience.

What is actually the status of the Universal monster movies that you're working on besides Wolfman? What other films are you sort of developing?

BLUM: We do. We have two or three we're developing. They're not yet announced, so I can't talk about them. But the status with Universal monsters is no different than it's ever been. Universal is in charge of the Universal monsters. But we've come up with a few ideas that they've like for a few of their other ones. And hopefully, we'll turn those into movies.

I'm out of time, but I just have to ask you real quick, are you making a Happy Death Day 3?

BLUM: I have a plan. Put it this way. I'm not saying goodbye to Happy Death Day. I'll say it like that.

I'm going to leave it there and just say I had other questions, but I'm out of time. Listen, always great to talk with you and congratulations on breaking 100,000 Twitter followers.

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