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Busan: Jason Blum on Creativity, Continuity and Coming to Korea

Top Hollywood producer Jason Blum breezed into Korea for a mere 22 hours. He instantly made his mark on an enthusiastic audience at the Busan International Film Festival, which moments earlier had watched the Blum-produced reinterpretation of classic horror film “Halloween,” directed by David Gordon Green.

Blum’s shingle Blumhouse produced the horror film. “There have been 11 ‘Halloween’ movies. But this is the first Blumhouse ‘Halloween,’ ” Blum said. “We have a very specific approach to making movies at Blumhouse. We try and put a social or political message into a scary movie.

“This movie is about two things: women’s empowerment, there are three generations of women overcoming the most evil (fictitious) man in the world. Also, where most horror movies are about a traumatic event, this is an exploration of what happens to a group of people 40 years after a traumatic event.”

Blum argued that creative continuity is more important than linear story lines. “Another thing that is unique about Blumhouse horror franchises is that we work really hard to include the creator of the original movie. Oren Pelli on ‘Paranormal Activity,’ James Wan on ‘Insidious’ and James DeMonaco on ‘The Purge.’ I pursued the rights to ‘Halloween’ for a long time and my one caveat was that I would not do the movie unless (original “Halloween” director) John Carpenter would come back in. I said to John Carpenter, let’s try to make a sequel of ‘Halloween’ that is actually a good one. I thought that would be a fun challenge for our company.”

Though there are no such plans, Blum made a strong case for opening a Korean branch of Blumhouse. “One of our movies, ‘Whiplash,’ did better in Korea than any place in the world including the U.S.,” he said. Similarly, “Happy Death Day” and “Get Out” enjoyed their second best box office performances in Korea, bettered only by their North American scores.

Such a business outreach could come in handy if Blumhouse’s existing Asian venture, with Tang Media Partners, whose Global Road Entertainment flagship is now bankrupt, ever comes unstuck. “We have one film project in China with Tang, and that is carrying on,” Blum told Variety.

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