In head-spinning horror news, a new Exorcist movie trilogy is in the works from Blumhouse and its Halloween writer-director David Gordon Green. Of course, we already knew Green was in talks to direct an Exorcist sequel, but today’s news has revealed the full scope of the endeavor.
The New York Times broke the news, reporting that Ellen Burstyn will reprise her role from William Friedkin‘s original 1973 classic, and she’ll be joined by Leslie Odom Jr., the Tony-winning Hamilton star who recently earned two Oscar nominations for One Night in Miami — one for his supporting turn as Sam Cooke, and another for original song.
Jason Blum will produce alongside James Robinson and David Robinson of Morgan Creek, which holds the rights to the Exorcist franchise. The Times reported that Universal and Peacock have acquired the trilogy in a mega-deal worth more than $400 million, with the first film expected to hit theaters on Oct. 13, 2023 — a year after Green’s final Halloween movie. Meanwhile, the second and third Exorcist films could wind up debuting on Peacock under the terms of the deal.
Rather than remake The Exorcist, Green will continue the terrifying story, with Odom playing the father of a possessed child. Desperate for help, he tracks down Burstyn’s character, whose young daughter (Linda Blair) was possessed by an evil entity known as Pazuzu in the first film. Her character did not appear in the two Exorcist sequels or either prequel.
The Times reported that the Exorcist deal will be officially announced later this week and that the reason the price tag was so high is because of how competitive the marketplace has become given the rise of streamers like Netflix, which shelled out $465 million for a pair of Knives Out sequels.
The original Exorcist movie saw author William Peter Blatty adapt his own novel, and the film went on to become a cultural sensation, grossing more than $440 million worldwide and earning 10 Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. Jason Miller and Max von Sydow co-starred alongside Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran and Father William O’Malley.
With his first Halloween sequel, Halloween Kills, already in the can and bound for the Venice Film Festival, Green is currently putting the finishing touches on Halloween Ends, which is expected to be Jamie Lee Curtis‘ last outing as Laurie Strode. Green will executive produce the new Exorcist trilogy with Danny McBride and Couper Samuelson of Blumhouse, whose Ryan Turek will oversee the project for the company. The screenwriting credits remain a bit fuzzy, as a quote from David Robinson mentioned Scott Teems and Peter Sattler — both of whom are writers — alongside Green and McBride.
Universal boss Donna Langley reportedly led the push inside NBCUniversal to partner with Peacock on an aggressive bid for the Exorcist package. Though the price was high, horror fans are extremely loyal theater patrons, and the box office is certainly expected to rebound by 2023, so there’s reason for optimism here… especially with Burstyn back and Green behind the camera.
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