Blumhouse producer Jason Blum says that Universal’s new deal with AMC theaters allows his upcoming slasher/horror-comedy Freaky to open in theaters.
Blumhouse producer Jason Blum explains why Freaky is playing in theaters and not going straight to on-demand. The upcoming slasher/horror-comedy stars Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton as a wanted serial killer and high school student who swap bodies. Now in the serial killer’s body, the teenager must try to stop the “the Butcher” from killing her classmates during Homecoming.
Directed by Happy Death Day‘s Christopher Landon and produced by Blumhouse, one of the biggest names in the horror genre and the studio behind popular franchises like Paranormal Activity and Insidious, Freaky is set for a November, Friday the 13th premiere in theaters. Freaky also shares a movie universe with Landon’s previous outings, the Happy Death Day films.
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In an interview with Inverse, Blum explains why Freaky is getting a theatrical release instead of following the trend of going straight to VOD.
“Universal’s kind of unique right now — they have this agreement they can play in theaters for three weeks before you do a premium video-on-demand release. My view is this is kind of the future of most theatrical movies. That’s where we’re gonna be after the pandemic. So I wanted to take advantage of it now when some theaters are open, although now that it’s spiking they may not be open. I guess we’ll find out.”
Blum went on to say, “Universal made this deal with AMC — it was the first of its kind — to do a shorter window and then go to premium VOD. Freaky is gonna be one of the first movies through this arrangement.” The success of other horror movies on VOD has opened doors for Freaky and likely other films in the future. Antebellum was the number one most rented title on Amazon Prime in its first weekend, despite its negative reviews.
Major film releases have been suspended since back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. While many theaters started to re-open over the summer in time to release Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which was expected to be a major box office draw, Warner Bros. took a hit as the movie did not do nearly as well as hoped. Studios took the hint from Tenet‘s underperformance and have continued to delay their film releases into 2021 or release their films straight to video-on-demand. Several horror movies were slated to come out this year alone, such as Jordan Peele’s Candyman and the Janelle Monae-led Antebellum. However, like many films, studios turned straight to VOD releases, which have proven to be the right move. As horror movies tend to have smaller budgets, studios found that their films thrived in VOD premieres. However, Universal and AMC Theaters recently reached an agreement that allows movies to play in theaters and stream early.
Given the box office numbers of recent movies in theaters, it’s hard to tell how Freaky will perform theatrically. With cinemas still closed in some places and many people being advised not to go at all, movie theaters’ future is unclear. Should Freaky‘s release be successful, more movies will likely follow suit, and VOD premieres might be the answer for most studios in the coming year.
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