The deal was announced Sunday on the heels of Blumhouse having delivered the latest in a micro-budget horror hit for Universal with “The Purge: Anarchy.” The sequel to last summer’s break-out hit opened in second place with a solid $28.4 million debut from 2,804 locations in the U.S.
The 10-year term of the first-look deal is a significant departure from most Hollywood pacts, which tend to run for two or three years. It reflects the studio’s elevated expectations that Blum can continue to deliver profitable films.
Blum broke out with the micro-budget “Paranormal Activity” horror franchise five years ago at Paramount, which grossed over $190 million worldwide on a $15,000 budget.
Blumhouse has since launched the “Sinister,” “Purge” and Insidious” franchises. The deal, announced Sunday, provides for Blumhouse to bring the Sinister franchise to Universal’s Focus Features — joining the studio’s other two Blumhouse micro-budget franchises “The Purge” and “Insidious.”
“Sinister,” starring Ethan Hawke, was released in 2012 through Lionsgate in the U.S. It grossed over $80 million worldwide on a $3 million budget. “Insidious” was released in 2011 through FilmDistrict and took in nearly $100 million worldwide on a $1.5 million budget; the sequel grossed $160 million worldwide on a $5 million budget last year for FilmDistrict, which has become part of Focus.
The announcement was made by Blum with Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment and Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley.
“This studio has had an incredible experience working with Blumhouse and it only makes sense to broaden that partnership to NBCUniversal’s broadcast and cable networks,” said Shell. “Jason and his team bring an energy and focus that can be felt across the company and we are thrilled to honor his passion for entertainment with a long term commitment and extension of that relationship.”
Blum signed his first-look with Universal in 2011, when he was recruited by Langley.
“Jason founded a company in Blumhouse that is unique and cutting edge, and we’re honored that they call Universal home,” she said. “Jason is extremely driven and highly creative. His style coupled with his industry relationships and strategic business model have been a recipe for much success between our companies. We look forward to expanding our opportunities together.”
The announcement noted that the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge and Sinister franchises have grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide on combined budgets under $40 million.
The company’s first film with Universal was “The Purge,” which opened a years ago at No. 1 and grossed $34 million, or 11 times its $3 million budget, in the first weekend.
Blumhouse’s upcoming titles with Universal will be supernatural thriller “Ouija,” opening Oct. 24; Jennifer Lopez thriller “The Boy Next Door,” which opens Jan. 23; and the next Insidious film, to be released by Focus.
Blumhouse and Universal are also developing Hasbro’s”Jem and the Holograms” and “In a Valley of Violence,”starring Ethan Hawke and John Travolta.
The announcement did not specify any specific projects for TV but noted Blumhouse has been expanding its small-screen acitivity in recent years in scripted and non-scripted shows including projects for Syfy (“Ascension,” currently in production), MTV (“Eye Candy”), ABC and Mike Darnell.
Blumhouse previously executive produced “The Normal Heart” for HBO, “Stranded” for Syfy and “The River” for ABC.
The company is also a producer on the drama “Whiplash,” which won both the Grand Jury and Audience prizes at Sundance.
CAA, Blumhouse consultant Charles Layton, John Diemer and Carlos Goodman negotiated the deal with NBCUniversal on behalf of Blumhouse.