Jason Blum founded Blumhouse Productions in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2009 that it started getting its reputation for making some of the most profitable films of all time.
The model: find a strong, high-concept but micro-budget horror concept or script, pair with a director with vision, and market the resulting film cleverly.
In 2014, after runaway hits like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, INSIDIOUS, and SINISTER, Blumhouse signed a first-look deal with Universal. On the TV side, Blumhouse has a first-look deal with Lionsgate, and has produced the Emmy-nominated HBO film THE NORMAL HEART and true-crime miniseries THE JINX.
Here are 15 of the best Jason Blum quotes for producers, writers and directors…
15 Jason Blum Quotes for Producers, Writers and Directors
“When you give a director total creative control over his work, he is much more likely to solicit advice from us, because he — or she — knows he doesn’t have to take it.”
“The first thing I learned as a producer is that you have very little control over the life of a project. Anything can stall a film, from financing to scheduling to casting. Things fall apart all the time. Try to have as many projects going at one time as you can handle.”
“We don’t have the money to build sets, so we don’t build them. There are few exceptions, but very rarely will we do a build. And I think that’s great. It’s better for the actors; it makes it feel more real. I think the restraints that shooting practically puts on production makes the movie better, even though it makes it harder to shoot.”
“In big movies, interests are not aligned between those above the line [actors, director, producers, writers] and the financier, because above the line gets paid whether the movie works or not. The financier only makes money if the movie works, and that fundamentally sets up a contentious relationship. What I love about low-budget movies is my interests and the director’s interests and the actors’ interests are aligned. No one makes money unless the movie works, and that informs every creative decision.”
“There’s a leadership crisis [in big studios] because the world of media is fracturing and changing at lightning speed, and the platforms are changing and the rules are changing, so there’s an enormous amount of disruption. I don’t think that’s personnel as much as it is the studio model being attacked. It has to reinvent itself.”
- “When something is really different, I think people are frightened of it; when something is really innovative and new, and you can’t compare it to anything else, it’s hard for those things to find a home. It’s not an accident that BLAIR WITCH and PARANORMAL had a similar history.”
“If you are still thinking about a script after five or ten years, that’s a sign that it’s good — not that it’s stale. And the opposite is true — if everyone wants to make your movie, that’s a sign that it probably sucks.”
“You can’t control what people take from what they see, and movies first and foremost need to be entertaining. At least for the movies we make. The minute you start making movies that are just lessons, no one sees them anymore.”
“The longer you are in the business, the more material comes your way. It becomes easy after a while to get lazy and dismiss everything as garbage. You have to find a way to focus on areas that show promise. Every script is a work in progress — it’s a blueprint for something else.”
“What do we look for in a scary movie? Something you haven’t seen before. Does it feel original? And if it does, why? What’s different about it?”
“If you’re making a movie for young people or you want young people to enjoy it, too, you have to make it PG-13. If you make a movie about high school kids, like OUIJA, you can’t then tell them they can’t go see it.”
“A theatrical release is not the be all and end all… We intentionally make all our movies without a release strategy — which removes the pressure on a filmmaker that goes along with making a wide-release film. We finish the film, screen it and then decide what lane the movie will take.”
[On why horror films do well theatrically] “People really like to be scared with other people. It’s a pretty inexpensive thrill ride compared to Magic Mountain or Disneyland.”
“Being snobby about the kind of storytelling people do irks me. In fact, it’s one of the things that drives me to make as many horror movies as I do. I love horror movies. I’m proud of horror movies. I love working in horror, and I’d love to make horror movies for a long time to come.”