The Exorcist 2023 is the riskiest venture that Blumhouse Productions have ever undertaken, according to its executive producer. The film, which is due in theaters on October 13, 2023, reteams the production company with writer-director David Gordon Green, who is set to create a legacy sequel trilogy to the iconic 1973 horror film in the same vein as his 2018 Halloween trilogy. The film will star Leslie Odom Jr. as a parent with a possessed child who goes to Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn reprising her original role) for advice.
IndieWire recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Blumhouse founder Jason Blum. During the conversation, he was asked to name the riskiest project the company had ever taken, and he revealed it was The Exorcist 2023. He revealed the reason is that the film is so risky is because “it’s so expensive,” as the company’s typical M.O. is to produce low-budget horror fare with strong box office potential. Read his full quote below:
The riskiest movie I have ever made for sure is not out yet. It’s ‘The Exorcist.’ Just because it’s so expensive. Usually the bar to success on everything we do because it’s inexpensive is incredibly low. For ‘The Exorcist,’ it’s high. “It’s not high risk for Blumhouse. We’ve obviously already been paid, but it’s high risk for our partners. So when you ask me what the riskiest thing we’ve ever worked on is, I take that as for us or our financial partners. In the case of ‘The Exorcist,’ that would be the biggest one, because it’s a high risk for Universal.
Will The Exorcist Be a Success?
Because of the original film’s reputation as the scariest film ever made, making a new film in the franchise seems like it would be a guaranteed success. However, the five-film The Exorcist franchise has proven time and again that it has had trouble following the original hit. Though The Exorcist II: The Heretic is frequently lauded as one of the worst movies of all time, it and its follow-up The Exorcist III are the only two other films to make even a slight profit, and they were both outgrossed by the 2000 re-release of the original Exorcist.
The fact that there hasn’t been an Exorcist film in theaters since 2004 may help boost is prominence as well. However, that is somewhat diluted by the fact that Fox produced a short-lived television spin-off that lasted for two seasons between 2016 and 2017. It remains to be seen if that series sated audiences’ appetites for franchise possession horror in the modern age.
Plus, while Blumhouse has successfully resurrected the Halloween franchise’s box office potential, other ventures into IP have not worked out so smoothly for them. Their non-horror production Jem and the Holograms had one of the lowest wide release opening weekends of 2015 and despite being modest successes their Fantasy Island and Black Christmas reboots failed to garner acclaim. Given that information, it makes sense that Blum would be somewhat nervous about the prospects of their new The Exorcist, though Burstyn’s return to her iconic role (along with the rumored return of Linda Blair) will likely help boost it considerably.