Culture Crash Logo

 

Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine american culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

One of the biggest stories in film this year has been the successes of the little horror movies.

Stephen King’s “It” qualifies for sure. The movie was produced for $35 million and has made nearly $600 million worldwide. That is a superhero-blockbuster’s total gross on a fraction of the budget. In fact, it has made more than “Logan”, “Justice League”, “Kong: Skull Island, and “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

But movies made for a fraction of “It’s” budget have dominated the box office this year as well. those movies are the brainchild of producer Jason Blum.

Blum founded his company Blumhouse Productions in 2000 around the premise that he could turn micro-budget horror movies into big hits. His first huge splash was 2009’s “Paranormal Activity.” Shot on a $15,000 budget, the movie managed to gross $193 million worldwide. That’s a 12,866% return on investment which, let’s just say that’s pretty good.

If that was the movie that really announced Blumhouse on a national stage, this was the year Blum and his company became a force to be reckoned with.

This year, they released their two biggest movies yet. in January, they released M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split.” The movie was filmed on a $9 million budget and made $278 million globally, which again, is quite a good run.

But the other movie Blum released this year is the real story because in February, the company released Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” This was made on half of “Split’s” budget. And the $4.5 million movie made $254 million globally, with $175 million of that coming in America alone.

Not only did this movie make back its budget 56 and a half times over, but it is now entering the awards conversation. The movie deals with race relations in a horror/comedy thriller and has been recognized as a National Board of Review top movie of 2017, and is now considered a likely nominee for best original screenplay at the Oscars.

“Split” and “Get Out” are the two highest grossing Blumhouse movies to date, but with the increased visibility that comes with two huge releases in one year and now an awards run that looks to be fruitful, it’s clear that the sky is the limit for Jason Blum and his micro-budget horror empire.

I’m Evan Rook.