With horror being big business at the moment, and Blumhouse being behind some big upcoming movies, it is hard to imagine Jason Blum having any regrets about his contribution to the entertainment industry. Blumhouse have dominated the box office over the last ten years, Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman, which Blum produced, was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2019, and with upcoming movies like The Forever Purge and a host of Stephen King projects, everything seems to be running perfectly for the company. However, in an interview with ComicBook, Blum disclosed the biggest regret he has had running the company and how in actual fact it was nothing he had any control over.
In 2019, Blumhouse announced the imminent arrival of The Hunt, a movie developed as a political satire which was mean to be a balanced swipe at both sides of politics, but it was quickly put under pressure by conservative news channels. The film had not received any kind of previews at this point, but it was said by some to be solely about “liberal elites” hunting conservatives. What followed is where Blum’s regret lies.
The issues being raised about the movie led to Universal removing The Hunt from its release schedule, not helped in any way by a series of mass shootings in the US at the time. While the timing could certainly have been better, the movie not being released was one thing, but when it was later rescheduled to play in March 2020, it ended up only being available in cinemas for ten days before the Covid shutdown hit.
“The pre-release controversy of The Hunt ruined the whole movie,” Blum told Comicbook. “I mean, it ruined the release of the movie. The Hunt was going to be a big hit movie, and the controversy before the movie destroyed the release of the movie. When I get asked what’s my biggest regret running the company, it’s that no one got to see The Hunt because of that controversy. That controversy is horrible. It was bad. It was controversy about a movie no one had seen. People were making up stuff about a movie they had not seen, and I really hope it never happens again.”
With The Forever Purge being every bit as political, Jason Blum was asked if he was worried the new movie could suffer the same fate as The Hunt, to which he replied, “I’m worrying about it happening before every movie. If we have controversy before a movie, it can wreck the release…But what can you do? I don’t worry too much. I can’t control it.”
When dealing in sensitive and risky subject matter, and trying to avoid the pitfalls the real world throws as curveballs to filmmakers, it is a wonder that someone like Jason Blum doesn’t just want to retire now and have done with it. For all the risks involved though, to simply stop pushing boundaries would see the world become a worse place for it. For now, Blumhouse is on top of its game when it comes to dark and edgy content, and hopefully these kind of regrets don’t come around too often.
The Forever Purge releases on July 2 in theaters.