Blumhouse’s ‘Black Phone’ Shows Horror and Original Stories Have a Place at the Box Office

Any fears Jason Bloom had about the future of the box office have been put to rest now that The Black Phone has surpassed $150 million at the global box office.

Blum was one of many who worried that low-budget films might not have a place in theaters after the pandemic shuts down theaters. However, the film, a collaboration between his production company Blumhouse and Universal, proved to Blum and the larger industry that there is still a place for lower-budget films at the box office.

“Black Phone” surpassed the $150 million mark worldwide at the box office, making it the third-highest grossing horror film of 2020, behind Paramount’s “A Quiet Place: Part 2,” which grossed $299 million, and Warner Bros.’ “The Conjuration: The Devil Made Me Do It,” which made $206 million.

Bloom told CNBC that “Black Phone” has yet to open in South Korea and is expected to add another $10 million in global ticket sales when it opens in September.

The film’s box office success is due in part to its low budget of just $16 million and the fact that it is an original IP.

“You know, I was apprehensive before the opening because in our post-Covid theater world, you can only guess whether people are ready to go back to the theater to see it or not. back and look,” Blum said.

Many worried that audiences would gravitate only to big spectacles or franchise films.

“I think it’s terrific,” said Abhijay Prakash, president of Blumhouse. “I think it’s really noteworthy for us and for the industry. This is obviously part of a theatrical reenactment of what is happening. I know the big boys get all the attention, like Shooter and Jurassic. But what made this movie what it is, that’s really great.”

Blum also said he was encouraged by Black Phone’s performance.

“In the 20 years I’ve been doing it, it’s one of the highest-grossing films the company has ever made,” he said.

Although low-budget and mid-budget films don’t often make headlines for their box office collections, they contribute significantly to the overall industry both domestically and globally.

According to Comscore, the 2022 box office totaled about $5.05 billion through August 11, down 31% from 2019. There were also about 31% fewer releases, with only 52 wide releases, movies in more than 1,000 theaters compared to 75 in the same period in 2019.

It became clear that the lack of such a large number of low- and medium-budget films in theaters led to a decrease in ticket sales across the board. Adding such films to the list, especially in the horror genre, can also attract audiences that have been slower to return.

“If you talk to any of our exhibitor friends, they really love the horror genre because it attracts a solid audience that often leans toward the young,” Prakash said.

Blumhouse has set a new standard for horror film production in the 21st century by producing quality feature films on smaller budgets. The studio is perhaps best known for films like Paranormal and the Academy Award-winning Exodus, as well as its ability to take these low-budget films and turn them into box office hits.

“Get Out,” for example, had a budget of about $4.5 million after marketing costs, and grossed more than $250 million worldwide during its 2017 theatrical run.

Blumhouse also has “Halloween Ends” coming to theaters in October and “M3GAN” in January. The studio is also developing Spawn and a movie based on the popular Five Nights at Freddy’s game series.

“There’s a very vibrant business, and it’s not just comic book movies, it’s not just tentpole movies, it’s great original storytelling in theaters,” Bloom said. “And, and this, this is very, very important.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. Blumhouse has a first-look deal with Universal.

Blumhouse’s ‘Black Phone’ Shows Horror and Original Stories Have a Place at the Box Office

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