The Criteria Producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, the Purge) Use to Make Low Budgets Wide Release Movies
Jason Blum is the founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, a multi-media production company created in 2000 that has pioneered a new model of studio filmmaking- producing high-quality micro-budget films for wide release. Blumhouse Productions is mostly known for Paranormal Activity and, more recently, The Purge, both hits at the box-office and low budgets.
In the Keynote that you can watch fully below, Blum explains how he ended up creating his own production company after years working for the Weinstein, and why he decided specializing on low-budgets with wide release -an uncommon equation that no other studio has bet on so far- after feeling frustrated producing big budgets that sucked the creativity out of the process.
One of the highlight in Blum’s keynote for me was when he explained what did it mean, on a practical level, to shoot a low budget (under $5 millions) for a wide release:
Not too many locations
Not too many speaking parts
90% of the movies are shot in Los Angeles because the budgets are low enough that it doesn’t make any sense to go to rebates states
The shootings last between 20 and 25 days
Everybody above the line -including himself- works for either free or for scale; i.e the least amount you are allowed to be paid from the Union
They never work with first or second time director. The deal with experienced director is that they have creative freedom and most of the time they have final cut.
I often complain about bad moderators ruining events, so I’m glad to say that John Horn, from the LA Times, did an excellent job, asking straightforward and informed questions, and helping make this Keynote a very interesting one. Blum was also very generous in sharing his thoughts and recipe for success. It’s worth noting that so far, Blumhouse biggest hits were horror films, a genre that is particularly friendly when it comes to limited locations, few speaking parts and short schedules, but the Production company doesn’t want to limit themselves to that type of films.
A worth watching keynote. See for yourself below: