It's hard to imagine Jason Blum of Blumhouse having regrets about his work in entertainment. As recently as two years ago one of the films he produced, Spike Lee's BlackKklansman, was nominated for the top prize as the Academy Awards (his third Best Picture nomination after Whiplash in 2014 and Get Out in 2017); not to mention the countless Blumhouse originals that have dominated the box office over the past decade. Speaking with us about the upcoming The Forever Purge, Blum revealed what he calls his "biggest regret running the company," and the real tragedy is that it had nothing to do with any decision he made and was something almost entirely out of his hands.
As you might recall, back in 2019 a Blumhouse original movie titled The Hunt was on the way to theaters. Conceived as a political satire that lambasted "both sides" of the spectrum, the film came under fire and scrutiny from conservative news outlets and even former president Donald Trump. Though no one had seen the film, a narrative began to take shape that the film was exclusively about "liberal elites" hunting conservatives. Trump even tweeted about the movie, writing: “Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level....The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others.”
This is where Blum's biggest regret comes into play. The fervor surrounding the movie, long before anyone had actually watched it, resulted in The Hunt being removed entirely from Universal's release calendar. This happened in part because of a series of mass shootings in the country but also because of the public outcry about its content from people that hadn't even seen it.
"The pre-release controversy of The Hunt ruined the whole movie," Blum told us when we asked if he had worried it might have happened with The Forever Purge as well. "I mean, it ruined the release of the movie. The Hunt was going to be a big hit movie, and the controversy before the movie destroyed the release of the movie. When I get asked what's my biggest regret running the company, it's that no one got to see The Hunt because of that controversy. That controversy is horrible. It was bad. It was controversy about a movie no one had seen. People were making up stuff about a movie they had not seen, and I really hope it never happens again."
To make it even worse, by the time The Hunt was rescheduled for release a few months later, in March of 2020, it was only able to play in theaters for about ten days before the country went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When we asked Blum if this meant he wasn't worried about the same thing happened with The Forever Purge, a movie that is just as explicitly political as The Hunt if not more so, Blum replied:
"I'm worrying about it happening before every movie. If we have controversy before a movie, it can wreck the release...But what can you do? I don't worry too much. I can't control it."
(Cover Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)