How Blumhouse Broke the Mould – Part 2
The film was then shot and edited over an intense seven-day period, though probably exhausting this likely helped create the tense atmosphere that is so well portrayed in this film. Once completed, the film was shown at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival in 2007 where it was seen by the Creative Artists Agency, they were so impressed that they decided to represent Peli and forwarded copies of the movie to as many of their contacts as they could. One of these contacts was none other than Jason Blum, he knew it had potential and decided to work with Peli to re-edit the film and aim to get it distributed.
When he first tried to sell the film the reception was cold, people even called it a joke but that didn’t stop Blum. He knew that if he could get a studio to see a test screening of the film in front of an audience that they’d see for themselves the film could be a success.
Eventually he managed to get DreamWorks interested in creating a remake for the big screen but that wasn’t a deal Blum really wanted to make, so he took a gamble. He made the deal but had an agreement put in his contract, they would have to sit in for a screening of the film in front of an audience. The gambit paid off and after seeing people leave the theatre in fear, DreamWorks knew they had a hit on their hands. The film was released in 2009 and was made for $15,000, once released it grossed over $193 million worldwide, cementing Blumhouse Productions in the big leagues.
The success of Paranormal Activity made it obvious what could be achieved with a small budget, it also shifted the focus of Blumhouse, from here on out they would begin to concentrate on creating Horror movies. That’s not to say they only make films of that genre but since then they have generated several franchises within it, films like ‘Insidious’ and ‘The Purge’ both having sequels of their own, not to mention the numerous sequels and spin offs for Paranormal Activity itself.
In January 2017 Blumhouse released ‘Split’, a film by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs). This is a psychological horror staring James McAvoy (X-Men First Class, The Last King of Scotland) and is perhaps one of Blumhouse’s most ambitious projects yet as the film (spoiler alert) takes place in the same narrative universe as Shyamalan’s earlier film, ‘Unbreakable’. Fans of his will know that he is well known for including a twist at the end of his plots and ‘Split’ was no exception, it ends with Bruce Willis’s character from ‘Unbreakable’ making a comment referencing a moment in the earlier film, something nobody saw coming.
‘Unbreakable’ was produced by Disney, in order to get permission to use the main character from the film in ‘Split’ Shyamalan claims he made a “gentleman’s agreement” with them to involve them in the production of a sequel to be titled ‘Glass’, which he is working on now.