Blumhouse thrived on releasing highly successful films made on limited budgets, and much of how that was spawned by the producer Jason Blumtime spent working on the 2010 comedy The small mouse. Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the titular tooth collector, the film was produced on a much higher budget than most films made with Blum on board. It gave Blum the chance to work on a big-budget feature film, and as explained in a new Variety interview, it wasn’t at all what he expected.
“It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be fun. Instead, it was very political, with 25 people deciding what the Tooth Fairy costume should look like. When it came out, Paranormal Activity came out as well and it was the best of both worlds: an independently made film released by a studio. It was the start of the business.
As Blum suggests, Blumhouse had had some success with the paranormal activity franchise starting with the original installment which was made on a very low budget and produced huge box office returns. In 2010, the same year as The small mousethe exit, paranormal activity 2 arrived at similar success to the original. With a budget of around $3 million, the feature film had grossed over $177 million at the box office. This forever changed Blumhouse’s strategy of focusing on compelling stories that could be told by talented filmmakers on limited budgets.
That said, he would make an exception for the right filmmaker, like someone who had an established track record with previous Blum-produced features. This would include Jordan Peele, as Blum served as a producer on Peele’s hit films get out and We. Blum was not involved in Peele’s last film, Nope, which was a bit more expensive to make than your typical Blumhouse movie with a budget of $68 million. But even with a big budget, Blum says he would have produced Nope if Peele hadn’t wanted to do it independently.
“He didn’t want me to produce it. I will have! He wanted to do it on his own, which is OK.”
Jason Blum understands that Batgirl is getting axed
Jason Blum also addressed the news that bat girl had been removed by Warner Bros. Discovery even after filming is over. The producer says it’s the result of new management trying to rebrand the DCEU and that bat girl shouldn’t match their vision. Blum notes how different that is between these big-budget productions and the low-budget films made at Blumhouse, where directors “trade big budgets for control”.
“We borrowed the French author’s system and applied it to a very commercial cinema. We give them more control than they usually have in Hollywood, but they also have to give us something: a commitment to make films on the cheap. How studio shooting works correlates to budget, the more expensive the movie, the more time the director spends strategizing how he’s going to get away with it. On a $200 million film, the director devotes 80% of his time to politics and 20% to making the film. On our $4 million film, 100% of the time is spent making a good film.
The last film produced by Blumhouse, the horror film They they, just premiered streaming on Peacock this weekend. Blumhouse returns to theaters this fall with the release of Halloween ends in October.