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Tag: Jason Blum (1-8 of 8)

'Jem and the Holograms' movie to crowdsource its casting process

A lot of young girls from the 1980s pretended to be Jem, the Hasbro doll and cartoon character who lived a double life as a glam rocker. Now, a new generation of girls has the opportunity to play her in a live-action movie. Producers Jason Blum, Scooter Braun, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu are planning a Jem and the Holograms film, and they’re relying on fans of the cartoon to help with the movie — and perhaps even star in it. “We want to invite you into our process and help us make our next movie, from writing music to designing costumes to even casting,” said Chu, in a YouTube video. “Whatever it is, we want you to be part of our creative time. Sort of like Kickstarter — but rather than asking for money, we’re asking for your creativity.”

“We are looking for the most talented girls and boys in the world to be in our movie,” said Braun, who represents Justin Bieber. “We want you to be our movie star.”

The announcement/recruitment video concludes with the trio inviting aspiring Jems and aspiring Holograms to upload pictures, messages of what fans love about Jem, and a two-minute audition video. “This is the real way we’re making our movie,” said Chu, who also directed two Bieber documentaries. “This is not a contest. This is actually how we’re putting things together.”

Watch the clip below: READ FULL STORY

Universal drops wide theatrical release of 'Stretch': director Joe Carnahan takes to Twitter

Universal Pictures will no longer be releasing director Joe Carnahan’s low-budget action comedy, Stretch, in wide release this March as initially planned. As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the studio opted out of its initial plans to distribute the film starring Patrick Wilson nationwide — an endeavor that can cost upwards of $30 million in marketing costs — after seeing the finished product.

According to the trade paper, and confirmed by EW, Carnahan and his producer Jason Blum tried shopping the under-$5 million movie to other studios looking for a wide release. When none of the other studios bit on the expansive release strategy the producers wanted for the film described as “cool, offbeat and little,” the film-making team returned to Universal where Blum houses his production company.

Now, the film, whose tone one source compared to an After Hours or Get Him to the Greek, will likely receive an alternative release strategy that could involve a partnership with a Netflix or other direct-to-video partner. In Stretch, Wilson, who also starred in Blum’s Insidious franchise, plays a chauffeur who picks up a difficult billionaire client (Chris Pine) in his stretch limousine for a night of increasingly dangerous events. Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Decker, Ray Liotta and Ed Helms also appear in the movie.

Blum, who gained significant notoriety in recent years for his hit low-budget series Paranormal Activity, has parlayed his films’ successes into a new producing strategy where each film is capped at a $5 million budget. Such flexibility gives Blum and his filmmakers more autonomy when making movies and less pressure to turn a profit. For example, The Purge, made for $3 million, opened in June and grossed $89 million worldwide. (A sequel is due this June.) Another Blum film, Rob Zombie’s Lords of Salem, only made a bit over $1 million theatrically, but did well in its video-on-demand window and was still profitable because of  its $1.5 million budget.

Still, Universal’s decision to bail on its initial wide-release strategy casts a pall over the film, one Carnahan (The A-Team and The Grey) tried to rectify Tuesday evening on Twitter. The director declined to comment to EW, as did Universal, but you can read Carnahan’s Twitter rant below.

SXSW announces Lena Dunham, Jason Blum, and Casey Neistat as keynote speakers

In addition to panels, workshops, and more, SXSW is adding a new feature to this year’s festival: daily keynote sessions. And today, the festival announced that the first speakers will include Girls creator Lena Dunham, founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions Jason Blum, and writer, director, and editor Casey Neistat.

“Though our conference has long featured dynamic speakers, we’re kicking it to a new level this year. By adding a daily Keynote, we aspire to further highlight and draw all eyes to creators who impact our culture in diverse and fascinating ways,” Janet Pierson, Head of SXSW Film, said in a press release. “Our first three keynotes epitomize the root of what SXSW Film stands for: singular vision, DIY creation, and gleefully coloring outside the established lines.”

For a full list of the festival’s first round of panels, visit The complete conference lineup will be announced in early 2014.

'The Purge' has a sequel in development

The Purge scared up quite the box office haul this weekend. Well-surpassing its low budget in its first days in theaters, the Ethan Hawke thriller has already earned what seems to be an increasingly common next step for financially successful movies: a sequel.

Producer Jason Blum’s company tweeted the news, and a Universal rep confirmed to EW that the studio is indeed on board for a sequel with Blum on as producer. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'The Purge' doubles the debut of 'The Internship' with $36.4 million

Many assumed that the weekend before the debut of Man of Steel would be a calm one at the box office, but that was not the case. Universal’s thriller The Purge surged into the top spot this weekend and shattered all expectations with a massive $36.4 million debut.

The film, produced by Paranormal Activity mastermind Jason Blum, cost only $3 million to make, and because its marketing campaign was predominantly digital (read: inexpensive), the micro-budgeted film will become a hugely profitable release for the currently on-fire Universal.

The Purge had an intriguing premise: for one night every year, all crime (including murder) is legal. Universal’s marketing team effectively communicated that twisted plot in trailers and ads, and the premise helped pack theaters, though it didn’t deliver on audiences’ high expectations. Crowds issued the film a discouraging “C” CinemaScore grade, and the film sank 38 percent from Friday to Saturday — a sign of poor word-of-mouth.

The Purge gave star Ethan Hawke his best opening weekend ever — trouncing Training Day‘s $22.6 million debut in 2001. Hawke also thrived on the indie circuit this weekend, as his film Before Midnight scored $585,000 from just 52 locations for an early $1.5 million total. Before Midnight‘s robust $11,243 per theater average trailed only one other film in the Top 20: The Purge, which had a sizzling $14,353 average at its 2,536 locations.

Universal reports that audiences for The Purge were quite diverse, with Hispanic moviegoers making up 33 percent of ticket buyers. Interestingly, the film also played predominantly to women, who accounted for 56 percent of the audience. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'The Purge' stuns on Friday with $16.7 million

The buzz around Universal’s Ethan Hawke thriller The Purge seemed like it was swelling heading into the weekend, but no one could have guessed that the film would over-perform the way it did yesterday.

The Purge earned an incredible $16.7 million on its first Friday (technically, that number includes Thursday night), and it’s headed to an opening-weekend gross of about $37 million, giving producer Jason Blum, the man behind the Paranormal Activity series, another runaway hit. The best part about all this for Universal? The Purge‘s budget was only $3 million.

It was a mixed bag of news for Fox’s Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy The Internship, which came in second. On the one hand, the film exceeded lowered expectations with $6.6 million on Friday, putting the $58 million movie on pace for an $18-19 million opening weekend. On the other hand, that’s a rather tepid result for the duo that helped Wedding Crashers climb to $209 million total back in 2005. Certainly not a disaster, though! READ FULL STORY

'Whiplash': Sundance-winning short to become full-length feature -- BREAKING

The savage Sundance-winning short Whiplash, about a young drummer facing down a brutally antagonizing music instructor, is about to become a feature film.

Writer and director Damien Chazelle adapted the 18-minute short from several scenes in the full-length script with the hope that it would attract investors for the complete version.

Now Bold Films, the production company behind Drive and the upcoming Only God Forgives, has stepped forward to fill out the undisclosed budget. The company will make Whiplash as a joint production with Right of Way Films and Blumhouse Productions, who teamed up to create the short.

In the video above, EW debuted the first clip from Whiplash, which went on to win Sundance’s short film jury award for fiction.

The movie focuses on a drummer (Johnny Simmons) in an elite jazz orchestra conservatory as he struggles to impress a merciless teacher, played by J.K. Simmons (Juno and Spider-Man.)


Sundance 2013: Prize-winning 'Whiplash' short aims to go long -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, sometimes the best thing you can do is sell yourself short.

Most of the talk at the Sundance Film Festival is about feature-length movies, but the shorts program is actually where many aspiring directors take their first steps into the storytelling business.

EW spoke with two such filmmakers — one a veteran, one a newcomer — about starting out this way at Sundance. READ FULL STORY

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