Most productions throughout the entertainment industry have been shut down for the last couple of months, in order to safely navigate the coronavirus pandemic. As big as many of Hollywood's prominent productions are, requiring massive crews in addition to sizable casts and hordes of extras, it may still be a while before everything is back up and running at a normal rate again. However, smaller productions look to be navigating the current madness, and the low-budget gurus at Blumhouse could be leading the charge. Jason Blum and his team at the studio may be the first to get things rolling again, as they attempt to prepare a small shoot on the Universal Studios lot.
Blumhouse executives are working with a small team of filmmakers to safely begin production on a $6.5 million project that will be shot on the Universal lot, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Blumhouse productions often require much smaller casts and crews, and shooting on the lot would keep things contained. If things move forward, the cast and crew would likely live in the same hotel close to the lot and there would be a strict set of safety protocols in place.
“Blumhouse productions, specifically, are typically smaller and require a lighter crew, shorter shoots and limited location work, [which is] part of the reason we can consider a fully on-location production on the studio’s sprawling lot,” a studio source told The Hollywood Reporter.
The biggest difficulty in this process would be moving forward without insurance that would cover an outbreak on the set, should one occur. Insurance companies likely won't want to touch that sort of situation. The risks will be kept at a minimum, though, as things like pre-production are being taken care of remotely.
"Blumhouse and Universal aren’t moving forward with any plans until we get the green light from city, county and public-health officials," the source added. "None of this pre-production planning work is being conducted on the lot itself. A small team of filmmakers and studio executives are currently working on those plans remotely. Safety of everyone involved is a huge priority, and nobody wants to rush into anything.
“There will be a lot we’ll be able to learn from this when the time comes as we think about starting up other productions.”
There will be a lot of lessons learned from this Blumhouse experiment, no matter how it turns out. The studio could provide the path to others restarting production going forward.