Variety reports that Universal has set aside $400 million to buy out the new Exorcist trilogy, planning to screen a few films on Peacock, its new streaming service. Ellen Burstyn, the Oscar-winning actress who also starred in the 1973 original, will reprise her role as Chris MacNeil.
Filmmaker David Gordon Green, who worked on Universal’s latest Halloween reboot, will direct the upcoming Exorcist franchise produced by Blumhouse. The studio also made a name for itself by producing low-budget horror hits such as Get Out and The Purge.
The deal with Universal is the latest among a long line of massive deals for movies signed by streaming services. According to Variety, media conglomerates like Disney, WarnerMedia, and Viacom have all launched subscription services in recent months. The increased competition has led to a boom for content creators. Peacock has found itself in the race, but unable to land high-profile projects equal to the likes of The Crown (Netflix), Ted Lasso (Apple TV Plus), or The Boys (Amazon Prime). However, this upcoming deal should help raise its profile.
The first of the three planned Exorcist films is projected to debut theatrically on October 13, 2023. The following installments have not been confirmed dates, but will potentially land directly on Peacock.
Jason Blum, CEO and founder of Blumhouse, gave a few words about the partnership: “Blumhouse has always experienced incredible partnership from the team at Universal, and I’m grateful to Donna Langley and Jimmy Horowitz for believing in the vision of David’s film and having the foresight to be flexible with distribution, so the team feels top notch support through the lifeline of the film. They’re committed to theatrical exhibition and will also [be] serving streaming viewers well by bringing an exciting franchise like The Exorcist to Peacock too. I’m grateful to be working with David Robinson and the great team at Morgan Creek on this iconic franchise.”
The original Exorcist (1973) was directed by William Friedkin and a critical smash hit, earning $441 million at the global box office. It also landed 10 Oscar nominations and became the first horror film ever recognized in the best picture category. The first film is about a mother (Burstyn) who hires two Catholic priests to perform an exorcism on her 12-year-old (Linda Blair), possessed by a demon.
Joining the cast of the reboot is Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton, One Night in Miami), whose character in the film tracks down Burstyn’s after his child becomes possessed.
Be on the lookout for more news on this anticipated horror reprise!