Ever since he founded Blumhouse Productions in 2000, Jason Blum has become an increasingly successful producer in Hollywood. Moreover, he has helped to pioneer a new model of studio filmmaking by producing high quality, low budget feature films for wide release, and this has resulted in his company turning out over 30 of them in 13 years. Among those films are Paranormal Activity and its sequels (the next one is due out in 2014), Sinister, Insidious and The Purge. Blum’s latest producing effort is the eagerly awaited sequel Insidious: Chapter 2, which reunites him with filmmaker James Wan and screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell.
I had the chance to speak 1 on 1 with Blum while he was at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles for the Insidious: Chapter 2 press junket. He was excited about how audiences were going to view it because he sees it more as a continuation of the first movie, rather than a sequel. We also talked about the role of a film producer in today’s day and age and why he has chosen the model of studio filmmaking that he has.
Check it out below!
Most of the movies you have produced have been done on low budgets. Are you ever tempted to move on to making bigger budgeted movies?
Jason Blum: No, I don’t want to do that because I hate all the things that come along with big budgets. I like to go see them, but I don’t have any near future plans of ever doing them. The reason I do low-budget movies is because if you keep budgets down, you have total creative freedom to do whatever you want to do. The minute you start taking more money that goes out the window. You’ve got to listen to a lot of people and I don’t like doing that. That makes sense to me if I was running a studio and I gave someone $100 million; I’d want to be involved in every freaking decision they make. Now if I gave someone $3 million, I’d be like bring me something good. If it’s good I’ll release it and if it isn’t, who cares? We’ll put it on VOD and iTunes and put it in ten theaters and I won’t lose any money. I will always stay in the second part of that equation.
I always got the feeling that there are more advantages to doing low budget movies especially in terms of creative freedom. I also got the impression that working with low budgets forces you to be more creative.
Jason Blum: I think so too. I think the most important thing in any movie is actor, character and story. If you have a gazillion dollars for effects, that’s what the director’s gonna spend time on, especially in prep. If you don’t, whether he likes it or not, he’s forced to spend time with his actors and character and story and it improves that stuff for sure.
How do you feel Insidious and its sequel stand out in regards to the other movies that you have produced so far?
Jason Blum: Same writer, director. With Paranormal Activity, different writer and director. I’m really happy about that. I feel like that informs this particular sequel a lot. Whenever you make a sequel you’re trying to balance two things: make it different enough from the first movie that people don’t feel like you’re repeating yourself, but make it connected enough to the first movie that people feel like “oh that feels like a sequel, it doesn’t feel like a whole new movie.” Having James and Leigh write and direct both movies, I think we achieved that.
The other thing that people look for in sequels, including myself, is answers to the questions that are posed in the mythology of the first movie. With Paranormal Activity we were always talking about how we want more answers like who is the demon and all that stuff (which we are trying to do this next time around). But on this one we got it the second time. I feel like a lot of questions that are posed in the first movie we answer in the second movie which I think is satisfying, and I’m really happy about that.
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