“The First Purge” is the lowest-grossing entry in the “Purge” franchise, but not for long. With nearly $60 million in box office earnings after three weekends in release, the fourth film of the series should surpass the original and could creep up with “Anarchy” ($71 million, domestically) and “Election Year” ($79 million) when it’s all said and done.
Given it was made on a $13 million budget, the film is already a massive success — just like the rest. So why is the franchise shifting to television?
“It’s kind of unprecedented for a film franchise at its peak — each entry [of the first three] has made more than the last one — to go to TV,” Jason Blum said during the show’s Comic-Con panel. “It’s really an indication that the line between TV and movies is blurry on the business side, but on the creative side […] the TV series let us explore [this world] more than the movies.”
Blum has been a long-time advocate for television. He won an Emmy for his work on “The Jinx,” and recently told IndieWire why showrunners were the people he most coveted to direct Blumhouse movies. On the panel, he said the opportunities in television were too good to ignore, though he didn’t write off the chance of merging the two in a crossover event.
“That would require us to go into a second season and a fifth movie,” Blum said when asked if he would ever bring the TV and film stories together by his producer, Ryan Turek. “That’s a good idea. So the answer is yes.”
The new TV show is already loosely tied to the films: “The Purge” is set in an altered America ruled by a totalitarian political party, revolving around a 12-hour period when all crime, including murder, is legal. James DeMonaco, the director of the first three “Purge” movies and an executive producer on the show, said events in the 10-episode event series take place between “The Purge: Anarchy” and “The Purge: Election Year” in the franchise timeline.
“We have about four or five storylines going on at once,” DeMonaco said. “I think time is the biggest factor. We had 10 hours to explore what we couldn’t even attempt to do in the movie. That gives us the real estate to get into character more. […] It allows us to dive into […] the rules and why anyone would pick up a gun on this night.”
DeMonaco also said the series would use a flashback structure to show how people’s behavior changes when “The Purge” is in effect.
“You think twice before yelling at somebody if a purge is coming,” Blum said.
Another concern cited by fans was whether the violence of the films would have to be toned down for cable.
“No,” showrunner Thomas Kelly said, bluntly. “I have four children, and I can’t believe what you can put on basic cable these days. So no, we haven’t toned down anything. There will be lots of spills and chills.”
More time, the same chaos: It sounds like television is a natural evolution for “The Purge.”
“The Purge” premieres September 4 on USA Network and Syfy.