Blumhouse Productions has enjoyed a great number of successes in recent years, taking micro-budgeted horror movies and turning them into major franchises. The Paranormal Activity series, Scott Derrickson’s Sinister, The Purge, and now the Insidious films have all become worldwide hits.
Producer Jason Blum certainly doesn’t see a reason to derail the money train and is currently developing sequels to every one of the aforementioned films. Blum is a big reason why the horror genre has had such a resurgence as of late, and I sat down with him briefly at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City to talk about his latest, Insidious Chapter 2.
Dread Central: You’ve got The Purge, Paranormal Activity, these movies of course… how hard is it to juggle all of these projects? You’re like the horror equivalent of J.J. Abrams at this point.
Jason Blum: (laughs) We have a relatively big company so it’s not just me. There’s a bunch of people that work at Blumhouse so that helps. One of the happy benefits of making movies where the director is really in charge is that we give them a lot of data and a lot of information but they really call the shots in the movies. So that helps us cover a lot of ground in terms of the movies that we do.
DC: How much more difficult was it to get the first Insidious off the ground as opposed to Insidious Chapter 2?
JB: The sequel was much harder than the first one.
DC: Really? Did you have the option to really go bigger and have a bigger budget? I’m sure you guys did.
JB: Yeah, we have the option to do that on all of our movies now. That’s one good thing about making a series of movies that people like. But I’m not interested in doing that because you give up too much autonomy on bigger-budgeted movies so I’m very psychotically diligent about keeping our budgets low so that we can control everything ourselves. And I pass that control along to the directors. The first movie was super low budget. The original budget was actually under a million dollars; it was 980,000 bucks. I didn’t just want to make a sequel for the sake of making a sequel; I wanted to make a sequel with James directing and Leigh writing and the original cast. I really thought that would be a better movie than anyone else doing the movie. It took a long time to get everyone on the same page as me but eventually we did it.
DC: How often are you actually on set? I think a lot of people aren’t really sure how much involvement a producer has on your level.
JB: Every movie is different. Some movies I’m still on set most of the time, and some movies I’m on set very little. The less I’m on set, the better things are going so on this movie I was on set I think four or five days of the twenty-five days that we shot – and that means that everything’s good. The more I’m on set, the more it means that things aren’t going so well.
DC: A lot of these movies are based on the uniqueness of the scares and some of the concepts so if you’re going back-and-forth to different projects and you see a director doing a similar thing and you think, ‘Oh man, we’re kind of doing that in this other movie,’ do you feel an obligation to go and tell that other director?
JB: I do tell the directors and that happens a lot. That’s a great question. Actually, that happens a lot, especially because the zeitgeist is like… I don’t think people are ripping each other off but there’s shit in the air with scary movies that’s built by each movie. The Purge comes out and then The Conjuring comes out, and we’ve all seen the same movies so your thinking is affected by what you’ve seen and it’s like, ‘Let’s try this.’ I think as filmmakers we worry about it more than the audience does. The audience is very forgiving if there’s a similar kind of jump scare from one movie to the next. If the story’s different, they don’t feel cheated. So, we’re probably overly concerned about it.
Insidious Chapter 2 is now in theaters.
Related Story: Check out our Insidious Chapter 2 news archive
Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions is producing (with Alliance financing). FilmDistrict will distribute the film theatrically in the United States, with Sony handling the majority of domestic ancillary rights. Alliance will distribute in Canada, the U.K. (through its Momentum Pictures subsidiary), and Spain (through Aurum); and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions will distribute in all other international territories.
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