Blumhouse and Universal gave horror fans quite the surprise when they announced that Halloween Kills will be available to stream on Peacock on October 15, the same day it opens in theaters. The streaming release date was announced in September, following a splashy Venice Film Festival premiere and after delaying the release for a full year in the early days of the pandemic, and just a month before Halloween Kills hits theaters, so it might have seemed like a sudden and unexpected strategy change. But according to Blumhouse CEO Jason Blum, it wasn’t a Universal or Peacock decision, it was his, and it’s a decision that ties back to their last big slasher release – the delightful 2020 horror-comedy Freaky.
Speaking with Collider for Amazon Prime Video’s Welcome to the Blumhouse film series, Blum explained:
“It was my idea to do it. [Peacock] didn’t approach me. I approached them. I, like everyone else, am a big believer in the theatrical experience. I think eventually I think there should be windows. I think Universal’s strategy of the three-week window is a great strategy, but I had a bad distribution experience with Freaky. That movie is a great movie, and it didn’t get seen because the distribution of it got all twisted up. My fault.”
Directed by Happy Death Day filmmaker and longtime Paranormal Activity screenwriter Christopher Landon, Freaky brought body-swap comedy to the slasher genre, earned extremely strong reviews (it’s still sitting at 83% on RT at the time of publishing), and had A-list appeal with Vince Vaughn delivering his most comedy-forward performance in years. It opened exclusively in theaters on 2,472 screens in North America on November 13, 2020, to a $3.7 million opening weekend, ultimately taking home just $16.2 million worldwide.
I didn’t want to go through that experience again. I didn’t want to have a movie that I’m really proud of that I think is great and have there be an excuse why people didn’t see it. So I’m the one who pitched Universal. And then I pitched Jamie and David, and it was my idea. I stand behind it. I’m glad that we’re doing it.
Hybrid streaming releases certainly aren’t unheard of at this point in the pandemic, and the Halloween Kills day-and-date streaming release offers another variation on similar strategies embraces by WarnerMedia/HBO Max and Disney/Disney+. Similarly, as Warner and Disney’s release strategies continue to evolve, you should expect the same to happen with future Blumhouse movies. Case and point, Blum doesn’t currently plan to take the same approach with Halloween Ends, the third and final Halloween film in David Gordon Green‘s trilogy, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters on October 2022.
“I don’t want it do it for the third movie. I want to go back to traditional windows, but COVID is incredibly unpredictable, and I didn’t want to risk it again. I felt like I did that with Freaky, and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. So I don’t want to repeat that experience.”
Back in July, Blum appeared on an episode of Collider Connected for the release of The Forever Purge and shared his thoughts on collapsing theatrical windows – a phenomenon the producer/CEO has long predicted as the future of the industry.
“The windows collapsing are not good for the entertainment business, they’re not good for the movie business, and they’re not really even that good for the consumer, but I knew it was going to happen and it did happen. And we have to live with it. You can’t just stick your head in the ground and hope these things aren’t going to happen. If you’re making black-and-white movies you can’t just hope they’re never going to invent color. Eventually, they’re going to invent color, no matter how much you might like black-and-white.”
While the theatrical market continues to evolve amidst the COVID pandemic, Blum has several irons in the streaming fires. In addition to setting up Halloween Kills at Peacock and the aforementioned Welcome to the Blumhouse at Amazon, other standout streaming ventures include Hulu’s ongoing Into the Dark film series, the upcoming Paranormal Activity reboot on Paramount+, and a Brittany Murphy docuseries in the works at HBO Max, just to name a few. Blumhouse has always been a bit of a pioneering production studio, from the micro-budgets to the content of self-dubbed “social thrillers” like Get Out, so it should certainly prove fascinating to see how it continues to evolve through one of the most uncertain phases in the history of the film industry.
Stay tuned for more from our interview with Blum.
“It’s a fun little thing.”
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