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‘Insidious’ Producer Jason Blum on ‘Ouija,’ His Low-Budget Production Model and Venturing into TV

'Insidious' Producer Jason Blum on 'Ouija,' His Low-Budget Production Model and Venturing into TV

Released right in time for Halloween 2014, Universal’s horror film “Ouija” fared well at the box office, grossing more than $50 million — especially impressive considering it reportedly cost under $5 million to produce. With the film recently hitting DVD and Blu-ray and today released On Demand, Indiewire recently spoke to producer Jason Blum about the film’s success — and his low-budget production model.

READ MORE: Low-Budget Producer Jason Blum on the Secret of His Success

To what do you attribute the success of “Ouija”?

I think there are certain objects where there’s kind of a cult around or a suspicion around. A lot of people who are not superstitious in any way will say “I don’t believe in any of that, but I don’t want to touch a Ouija board.” What we tried to do was to make a movie that taps into that. I think that’s what people like about it. It’s this one thing that even people who don’t believe in paranormal activity get stirred up about. It scares people — and I think that’s why people liked it.
The box office success of the film was, in part, fueled by young people. Do young people today care about Blu-ray and DVDs?

I certainly hope so! I think a lot of people still watch. It’s a big part of all of our movies’ lives and part of our revenue stream, the DVD and Blu-ray release. Happily, there are a lot of people who still like to own a movie on something that is a physical object — like a Ouija board!

There’s also word about a sequel to the film.

We want to do one and I hope we do one. We’re trying to get the story right. I hope so!

The film cost around $5 million to make. How much on top of that was devoted to marketing and advertising?

I don’t have that exact figure, but the marketing spends on our movies are traditional. The budgets of our movies are not traditional, they’re about 5% of the average studio movie, but the way the movies are released and marketed theatrically is comparable to other studio movies. The micro-budget part only applies to the budget. It doesn’t apply to the marketing budget.

Now you’re moving into TV as well, developing scripted and non-scripted programming. Could you see spinning off some of the films, such as “Ouija” to TV.

Well, we can’t do that because the rights are tied up so we couldn’t do a “Ouija” series unless everyone involved in the movie and the studio was involved in that. I don’t think we’ll be using IP (intellectual property) from our movies with our series. But I do think we’ll use our production model. One of the things we’re doing in TV is a very low cost series model, which we’re working on.

Was there anything in the production of “Ouija” that did not go as planned?

I’ve never had a production ever where everything goes as planned. In terms of the version of the movie that was released and that’s on the Blu-ray/DVD, I’m really happy with how it turned out. But that doesn’t mean it was all rosy all the way through the process. 

The movie you would expect the movie to be and the movie that we made are very different. I think people will be pleasantly surprised.

READ MORE: Digging Through the Blumhouse Movie Dump: What You Should Watch and Skip

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