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AMC Theaters, Looking for Movies, Turn to Blumhouse

For five days starting March 29, people who purchase tickets to select movies at select AMC theaters will see video messages featuring…Jason Blum?

We are far from Nicole Kidman, whose breath “We come to this place for the magic” mark point became a legend. But Mr. Blum, a horror film producer, is working to make his entertainment company, Blumhouse, a more consumer-oriented brand. The goal is to create an association between your name and anything scary, a bit like Marvel and superheroes. This in turn could make Blumhouse more valuable as an acquisition target in the coming years.

AMC and Blumhouse, which has made more than 200 horror films and shows, are teaming up for what they're calling the Halfway to Halloween Film Festival. (It's more like 40 percent of the way there.) Blumhouse's previously released horror films, including “Split,” “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” “The Purge,” “The Invisible Man” and “Insidious,” which will have its 13th anniversary on April 1, will be offered in 100 AMC theaters in 40 cities.

Mr. Blum, 55, will present each film with a personalized message, offering an anecdote about the production or an anecdote. James Wan, who directed “Insidious,” will appear in a video, as will Mike Flanagan, who directed “Ouija: Origin of Evil.” Ticket buyers will also see elaborate advertisements known as sizzle reels for Blumhouse, which will promote the event through its social media channels.

“Horror has always appealed to the outsiders, myself included, and participating in events like this allows me to celebrate that,” Mr. Blum said, before referencing one of the company's seminal films . “I like to take risks on stories that others find too risky, like 'Get Out,' and having a brand allows me to do that.”

For AMC, the partnership with Blumhouse is a way to alleviate a supply shortage. Box office analysts expect major Hollywood studios to release around 100 films in 2024, up from 124 last year.

Some studios have pushed back planned releases, citing delays caused by two union strikes which shut down Hollywood for months last year. “Disney’s Snow White,”Mickey 17” and “A Quiet Place: Day One” were removed from the March release schedule. Other studios began releasing fewer films to save money.

A24, another brand-conscious film company, also took advantage of the shortage by, for example, partnering with AMC in February for an event called A lover's series showcasing some of his previous releases. On Wednesday, A24 announced a similar announcement series of screenings with IMAXin which the large format film company will digitally remaster old A24 films like “Hereditary” and “Uncut Gems.”

Mr. Blum has long earned a reputation as a maverick. Most film producers keep a low profile; he sometimes promotes his films by attending previews in costume, like at the end of 2022 when he dressed in M3gan, a murderous doll with artificial intelligence. In December, he posted a video on X of himself in his underwear. (It was take a dip in an icy Connecticut stream. Do not ask.)

His penchant for promotion, personal and otherwise, helped make Blumhouse Hollywood's premier horror factory. She releases four to five films per year. Most are hits, including the recent “Five Nights at Freddy's.” Some are not, notably “The Exorcist: Believer”. Blumhouse is working to dramatically increase film production as part of a merger with Atomic Monster.

Mr. Blum and Abhijay Prakash, chairman of Blumhouse, are also creating companies dedicated to original video games, merchandise and live events.

“Our biggest projects have yet to come to fruition,” Blum said.

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