Here’s a scary thought: Two horror powerhouses may be merging in order to create more terror.

James Wan’s Atomic Monster and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse, which between them have created horror franchises ranging from Saw and The Conjuring to Paranormal Activity and Sinister, as well as countless of other hits, are in advanced talks to merge.

The talks occur in the looming shadow of the upcoming horror movie M3GAN, which saw the two men team up as producers. They first partnered up with 2007’s Insidious, which spawned a franchise and was one of the more profitable horror movies made this century.

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The merger has some unique attributes, as both companies would operate as separate labels, with each maintaining its own creative autonomy and brand identity.

Insiders say that after joining together the two brands, Atomic Monster would have a first-look deal with Universal Pictures. Blumhouse is currently under a first look with Universal as well. The studio recently released the final Halloween movie for Blumhouse and is distributing M3GAN.

Another aspect of the combination of the two companies is a deeper expansion into video games, live experiences and audio, something that both Blum and Wan are both very keen on. Blumhouse is part of Meta and NBCUniversal’s multiyear collaboration to bring franchises into the Metaverse. Wan, for his part, has seen his movies become Halloween- themed attractions and VR experiences.

Horror has proven one the few durable genres that can still consistently get people into theaters. This year especially is a strong one for scary movies, with Paramount’s No. 1 original and No. 1 horror title of the year. Blum’s The Black Phone was a critical and slow-burning box office hit, while A24’s one-two punch from director Ti West, X and Pearl, also won over critics and moviegoers.

Atomic Monster previously had a deal at Warners, where Wan is in postproduction on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and where his Conjuring movies and spinoffs have generated more than $2 billion in box office revenue alone. That deal expired over the summer, and observers were watching where the filmmaker would land next. Combining his shop with Blumhouse, in which he will have a substantial stake, if a deal closes, was not what most were expecting.

M3GAN, meanwhile, is shaping up to be a big draw, if social media is a metric. The film’s trailer launch became a cultural trend online spawning countless memes, fan reactions, and celebrity posts from people like Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion and Halle Berry. TikTok posts that used the #M3GAN hashtag have been viewed 521.2 million times, per Blumhouse. Posts that use #M3GANDANCE are at 62.9 million.

Hollywood Reporter Original Article

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