A question floating among showbiz dealmakers this week: How much is Blumhouse Productions worth now? That’s a fascinating exercise after the Times revealed the horror production house, purveyor of everything from Get Out to The Purge to the Halloween and Exorcist reboots to this year’s The Black Phone and January’s Me3an, is closing a deal to acquire filmmaker James Wan’s Atomic Monster, producer of The Conjuring movies, as well as Insidious and many more. It will create a behemoth in a booming space with arguably the two most successful horror producers of all time, both with first-look deals at Universal Pictures. What would be the price, a billion? $2 billion? More?
Jason Blum wants very much for it to be “more.” It’s no secret the producer has long coveted a massive sale of the company he founded as a microbudget factory in 2000. Blum is ultra-competitive—he goes nuts every time a rival launches a new franchise, like Wan has done with Saw and Conjuring—and he’s a student of Hollywood history. He wants nothing more than a Pixar or Norman Lear or David Geffen-style transaction to separate him from the regular producers and add his name to the tiny list of those who came to Hollywood, thoroughly kicked its ass, and cashed out as a billionaire.
That’s the real rationale behind the Wan deal. Blum knows he shouldn’t sell now, when the financial markets are so challenged. But in two or three years? Maybe after his Universal deal comes up for renewal in June 2024? He’s got some time, and horror is one of the few genres that still works in theaters, so he benefits by trying to both bulk up and maintain his high hit ratio.