Jason Blum Pushed ‘Halloween Kills’ to Streaming After ‘Freaky’ Failed in Theaters: ‘I Stand by It’

The theatrical-only release of "Freaky" last year left "a bad taste" in Blum's mouth, and he didn't want to repeat the same mistake.
"Halloween Kills"
"Halloween Kills"
Universal Pictures

Blumhouse boss and horror producer Jason Blum vowed last year that David Gordon Green’s “Halloween Kills” would be released in October 2021, “vaccine or no vaccine.” Fortunately, there is a vaccine and “Halloween Kills” is set to open October 15. Unfortunately, the potential box office gross for “Halloween Kills” might be affected by the decision to make the horror sequel available to stream on Peacock on the same day it opens in theaters. Universal announced the move to streaming for “Halloween Kills” on September 9.

In a new interview with Collider, Blum said that it was his decision to give “Halloween Kills” a hybrid release and not something that was mandated by studio Universal Pictures. Many industry figures were surprised by the decision, as Universal was at the forefront of changing the theatrical window during the pandemic. The studio struck deals with exhibition chains like AMC and Regal where films grossing $50 million or more on opening weekend receive a 31-day window, while films below that threshold get a 17-day window. Universal previously opted out of that strategy for “The Boss Baby: Family Business,” which arrived in theaters and streamed via Peacock on July 2.

“It was my idea to do it. [Peacock] didn’t approach me. I approached them,” Blum told Collider. “I, like everyone else, am a big believer in the theatrical experience. I think eventually I think there should be windows. I think Universal’s strategy of the three-week window is a great strategy, but I had a bad distribution experience with ‘Freaky.’ That movie is a great movie, and it didn’t get seen because the distribution of it got all twisted up. My fault.”

“Freaky,” directed by “Happy Death Day” helmer Christopher Landon and starring Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton, opened last October exclusively in theaters and flailed out at the box office. The body-swap horror movie did not even crack the $10 million mark at the box office. Universal took “Freaky” to VOD platforms in the film’s fourth weekend of release.

“I didn’t want to go through that experience again,” Blum said. “I didn’t want to have a movie that I’m really proud of that I think is great and have there be an excuse why people didn’t see it. So I’m the one who pitched Universal. And then I pitched Jamie [Lee Curtis] and David, and it was my idea. I stand behind it. I’m glad that we’re doing it.”

“Halloween Kills” will be followed by the third and final entry in the latest “Halloween” trilogy, “Halloween Ends.” But fans can rest assured that Blum has no intentions of taking “Halloween Ends” to streaming until well after an exclusive theatrical release.

“I don’t want it do it for the third movie. I want to go back to traditional windows, but COVID is incredibly unpredictable, and I didn’t want to risk it again,” Blum concluded. “I felt like I did that with ‘Freaky,’ and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. So I don’t want to repeat that experience.”

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