Blumhouse hit it big with its 2018 version of Halloween, which made a hefty $255 million at the global box office and has two sequels on the way. Now they’re attempting to do the same with another classic horror franchise, as the studio is developing a new Exorcist trilogy.
This endeavor is so similar to what they’re doing with Halloween that they’ve even hired the same director, David Gordon Green, to helm the trilogy.
The films will star Leslie Odom Jr., the Hamilton star who recently earned an Oscar nomination for his turn as Sam Cooke in One Night In Miami, as well as Ellen Burstyn, who will reprise her role from William Friedkin‘s 1973 classic.
Jason Blum will produce alongside James Robinson and David Robinson of Morgan Creek, which holds the rights to the Exorcist franchise. Universal and Peacock have reportedly acquired the trilogy in a mammoth deal worth over $400 million.
That number is apparently so high because of how competitive the marketplace has become thanks to Netflix shelling out $465 million for the Knives Out sequels.
The first film is expected to hit cinemas in October 2023 – a year after Green’s final Halloween movie – while the second and third Exorcist films could wind up debuting on the Peacock streaming platform under the terms of the deal.
Universal boss Donna Langley reportedly led the push inside NBCUniversal to partner with Peacock on an aggressive bid for the Exorcist package. Though the price is high, horror fans are extremely loyal and The Exorcist is easily recognisable IP. With cinema-going expected to be fully back to normal by 2023, it’s easy to see why this deal was appealing.
The first film in the trilogy will not be a direct remake, and Green will instead continue the story that began in 1973. Odom Jr. will play the father of a possessed child who, desperate for help, tracks down Burstyn’s character, whose young daughter was possessed by an evil entity in the first film.
There have been Exorcist sequels, including 1990’s low-key amazing The Exorcist III, as well as some poorly received prequels in the mid-2000s.
But this is the first real effort by a studio to revive this franchise in a big way, especially with Burstyn returning for the first time, and Blumhouse are clearly expecting similar results to their recently revived Halloween franchise.
Speaking of which, Green’s first sequel to his 2018 film, Halloween Kills, is already complete and set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival. He’s putting the finishing touches on the third film, Halloween Ends, which is expected to be Jamie Lee Curtis‘ last outing as Laurie Strode (although boy have we heard that before).
It’s interesting that Blumhouse have decided to stay as close to the Halloween model as possible, with Green directing and Danny McBride also involved once again as a writer. Green used to be known as a director who worked in many genres, but he seems set on staking his flag in the horror genre at this point in his career.
This is obviously big news for horror fans. Not everyone liked Green’s Halloween, and if his sequels don’t hit as hard, it will be interesting to see how this Exorcist revival is looked at.
But with this, Halloween, and another Scream film coming, expect to see more revivals of classic horror franchises soon if those films continue to perform well.