AMC Theaters, Looking for Movies, Turns to Blumhouse

by The Technical Blogs

For five days starting on March 29, people who buy tickets to certain movies at certain AMC Theaters will see video messages starring … Jason Blum?

It’s a long way from Nicole Kidman, whose breathy “We come to this place for magic” branding spot has become legend. But Mr. Blum, a horror film producer, has been working to build his entertainment company, Blumhouse, into more of a consumer-facing brand. The goal is to create an association between its name and everything scary, sort of like Marvel and superheroes. That, in turn, could make Blumhouse more valuable as an acquisition target in the years ahead.

AMC and Blumhouse, which has made more than 200 horror movies and shows, are teaming up for what they are calling the Halfway to Halloween Film Festival. (It’s more like 40 percent of the way.) Previously released Blumhouse horror movies, including “Split,” “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” “The Purge,” “The Invisible Man” and “Insidious,” which will have its 13th anniversary on April 1, will be on offer in 100 AMC theaters in 40 cities.

Mr. Blum, 55, will introduce each film with a tailored message, offering an anecdote about the production or a tidbit of trivia. James Wan, who directed “Insidious,” will appear in a video, as will Mike Flanagan, who directed “Ouija: Origin of Evil.” Ticket buyers will also see elaborate ads known as sizzle reels for Blumhouse, which will promote the event through its social media channels.

“Horror has always attracted misfits, me included, and participating in events like this allows me to celebrate that,” Mr. Blum said, before referring to one of the company’s signature films. “I like taking risks on stories that other people find too risky — like ‘Get Out’ — and having a brand allows me to do that.”

For AMC, the Blumhouse partnership is a way to make up for a supply shortage. Box office analysts expect the major Hollywood studios to release roughly 100 movies in 2024, down from 124 last year.

Some studios pushed back planned releases, citing delays caused by two union strikes that shut down Hollywood for months last year. “Disney’s Snow White,” “Mickey 17” and “A Quiet Place: Day One” moved off the March release calendar. Other studios have started to release fewer films to save money.

A24, another film company that pays keen attention to its brand, has taken similar advantage of the shortage, teaming up with AMC in February, for instance, for an event called A Lover’s Series featuring some of its previous releases. On Wednesday, A24 announced a similar screening series with IMAX, wherein the large-format cinema company will digitally remaster old A24 movies like “Hereditary” and “Uncut Gems.”

Mr. Blum has long curated a reputation as a maverick. Most film producers keep a low profile; he sometimes promotes his films by attending premieres in costume, as in late 2022 when he dressed as M3gan, a murderous doll with artificial intelligence. In December, he posted a video on X of himself in his underwear. (He was taking a dip in an icy Connecticut stream. Don’t ask.)

His penchant for promotion, self and otherwise, has helped turn Blumhouse into Hollywood’s leading horror factory. It releases four to five films a year. Most are hits, including the recent “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” Some are not, including “The Exorcist: Believer.” Blumhouse is working to significantly increase movie production as part of a merger with Atomic Monster.

Mr. Blum and Abhijay Prakash, Blumhouse’s president, are also building businesses dedicated to original video games, merchandise and live events.

“Our biggest plans have yet to play out,” Mr. Blum said.

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