In a box office landscape where horror remains a reliable bastion of ticket sales even as the theatrical market changes, there are certain big names in the genre that you can usually count on to deliver. Two of the biggest are producer Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse, and director and writer James Wan, who also produces genre films through his company, Atomic Monster.
Though they're largely built their reputations as horror hitmakers separately, Blum and Wan (seen above with horror star Jamie Lee Curtis) are friends and occasional collaborators, having worked together previously on films like Insidious and have collaborated again for next year's buzzy release, M3GAN. Now, they're hoping to take that professional relationship to the next level, and it could mean big things for horror at the movies.
The New York Times reports that Blum and Wan are in talks to join Blumhouse and Atomic Monster together, creating a horror behemoth capable of producing more films, TV series, and beyond. According to the report, the move would see Atomic Monster -- the smaller of the two companies -- step beneath the Blumhouse umbrella to become an "autonomous" label within the company, producing new horror content with Wan's creative partners, and Blum's production team backing each release. According to both Blum and Wan, it's a solid match, because it merges the former's business sensibilities with the latter's creative instincts.
“James is probably 70 to 80 percent artist and 30 to 20 percent business person, and I am the reverse,” Blum said.
Wan added, “We really do complement each other, yin and yang, which is part of what makes this so exciting."
The proposed deal, which is not final but could take effect in the first quarter of next year if all goes well, would help Blum reach his goal of doubling Blumhouse's theatrical release output to at least eight new horror films each year, along with producing new films for the Peacock streaming service at Universal, where the company has a first-look deal stretching into 2024. Wan, whose own deal with Warner Bros. ended earlier this year, would step over to Universal as part of the deal, and would have the Blumhouse machinery in his corner as he works to expand his many ideas for horror properties beyond Atomic Monster's current output.
“It really allows me a bigger canvas to paint on, if you will,” Wan said. “Universal is very supportive of filmmakers and brilliant at marketing. To have partners that trust you, that believe in you, that goes a long way.”
Joining forces with Blum would also allow Wan to keep developing new ideas at Atomic Monster while he continues to devote time to established franchises at Warner Bros., which include Aquaman and The Conjuring.
For the moment, the deal remains something of a hypothetical, with details left to be ironed out before Blum and Wan can make it official. Still, both horror giants sound excited about the prospect, and if they can pull it off, there's really no telling just how big the Blumhouse/Atomic Monster collaboration could get.
Looking for more horror? Check out horror hits The Black Phone, Mid-Century, They/Them, The Lazarus Effect, Insidious and more streaming now on Peacock.