Two titans of the horror genre are coming together to create one giant factory of scares. Per The New York Times, Jason Blum and James Wan are in advanced talks to merge their production companies, Blumhouse and Atomic Monster, which would greatly bolster Universal Pictures‘ catalog of horror. Should the deal go through, Atomic Monster would be brought into the same first-look deal that Blumhouse is under. It’s assumed that both banners will continue to operate under their own names, though Wan will have access to the resources at Blumhouse‘s fingertips, opening more opportunities for him to explore his horror ideas.
The entire landscape of modern horror has largely been defined by Blumhouse and Wan. The former has turned itself into a juggernaut of the macabre over the years, known as the force behind The Exorcist, Halloween, Sinister, Paranormal Activity, Ouija, Happy Death Day, and so many more properties. Blum‘s banner is coming off a stellar year too with the box office success of both David Gordon Green‘s Halloween Ends and Scott Derrickson‘s The Black Phone under its belt. The former recently eclipsed $100 million at the global box office while the latter scored a staggering $159 million on a mere $22 million budget. In total, Blumhouse has raked in over $5 billion from its films across the past 15 years with no signs of slowing down as it also has a new Exorcist trilogy on the horizon, M3GAN coming early next year, and a Five Nights at Freddy’s film in the pipeline.
Where Blumhouse has the sheer size and muscle within the horror space, Wan and Atomic Monster have the ideas. “James is probably 70 to 80 percent artist and 30 to 20 percent business person, and I am the reverse,” Blum said during an interview at Universal. “We really do complement each other, yin and yang, which is part of what makes this so exciting.” Wan has taken a fair share of the horror pie himself, forming two of the most iconic modern horror franchises Saw and The Conjuring. Although Atomic Monster is much smaller than Blumhouse, films from Wan‘s banner have scored a staggering $3.5 billion in ticket sales over the years. Wan himself is also a versatile director, also taking the reins on blockbuster projects like Aquaman and Furious 7.
What the Merger Means for Blumhouse and Atomic Monster
Adding Wan into the fold gives Blumhouse the critical expansion it needs to dominate the horror space. The production company has long relied on ideas from outside its walls to make its films, but Blum hopes to expand significantly over the next few years. Atomic Monster will ultimately help them create more films by giving them their own in-house auteur providing ideas to produce. “I have so many ideas – so many ideas – more than I can handle by myself,” Wan said. The merge allows Wan to finally explore a few other ideas beyond films too, including video games, podcasts, and television series.
The Blum and Wan combo isn’t totally new. Both previously worked together on the Insidious franchise from Leigh Whannell where Wan directed the first two films and Blumhouse produced. Despite relatively tiny budgets, the franchise became immensely lucrative for all involved, grossing nearly $540 million across four films. With that kind of firepower tied together once again, Universal has effectively cornered the market on horror until their first-look deal runs up in 2024.
For fans of Blumhouse and Wan, the merger is likely to herald plenty of exciting projects in the years to come.