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SXSW 2019: Jason Blum in Conversation With John Pierson

Movie producer extraordinaire Jason Blum is back in Austin for 2019’s SXSW Film Festival in support of not one, not two, but three projects in the lineup.

The highly anticipated “Us” from Jordan Peele had its world premiere on Friday, March 8, at Austin’s Paramount Theatre, and of course Blum was in attendance. Logan Marshall-Green’s directorial debut “Adopt A Highway,” starring Blumhouse (and Austin) favorite Ethan Hawke, had its world premiere on Sunday, March 10, at the Stateside Theatre. And just to switch things up, SXSW also hosted the world premiere of “Into the Dark: I’m Just F*cking With You,” part of a Hulu anthology in collaboration with Blum’s production company.

So yes, Jason Blum has been a busy man. In addition to all of those premieres — and hanging out with Pooka (a character from an “Into the Dark” installment of the same name) — he also lined up two panels. We attended the first, which was a conversation with John Pierson, who’s nickname is The Guru of Independent Film. Blum and Pierson go way back:

Most of the conversation centered around how Blum got to where he is today, and why he does what he does. He started out at Arrow Entertainment, as you can see above, and has now built his own sort of empire. And while he is definitely a part of the system in Hollywood, there are plenty of things he wants to see changed, like budget decisions.

Of course, Blumhouse projects have recently been getting critical traction too, which is odd for genre films. Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” was a 2017 best picture nominee at the Academy Awards, and recently Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” got the same treatment. The latter, of course, is not a horror film, but it is another in which the director has plenty of creative freedom to make the movie he wants to make.

The two men also discussed Blum’s involvement in some documentaries, including the HBO true crime documentary series “The Jinx,” about the murders committed by Robert Durst. In addition, Pierson questioned Blum about the importance of film reviews and ratings. Those who follow Blum on social media see that he’s vocal about wanting to see his films succeed with audiences and with critics.

And finally, there was a small discussion about why horror appeals to so many women. Although Blum repeated that 55% of horror audiences are women, he also admitted he doesn’t know why. One guess was that women and girls may enjoy going to horror movies in groups — but again, it’s unsubstantiated.

It’s evident that Blum truly loves making and watching movies. In the Q & A session at the end, in what might have been the best news he gave to his fans, he assured everyone that he would never stray from making horror movies. It’s what’s made Blumhouse what it is.

What are you favorite Blumhouse films? Sound off in the comments!

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Featured image credit: Jackie Ruth/Shuffle Online

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