Abhijay Prakash is joining Blumhouse as President—succeeding eight-year Blumhouse veteran Charles Layton, who has long been a close advisor to founder Jason Blum. Layton will segue to Vice-Chairman, staying on in a strategic and advisory role for the next two years, with Prakash now overseeing all business aspects of the company.
Prakash was formerly the President of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, where he was responsible for driving the studio’s strategic and long-range planning, also overseeing the business operations of UFEG including finance, business development and administrative functions. Prior to UFEG, he served as Chief Operating Officer for DreamWorks Animation, overseeing the animation studio’s strategic planning and primary business operations including finance, business development, technology and administrative functions, while working closely with other Universal leaders on release planning, franchise management and brand development. Our sister publication Variety was first up with the news.
Prior to DreamWorks, Prakash was Chief Operating Officer for Focus Features—overseeing all aspects of finance, strategy, business affairs, physical production, distribution and operations. Prior to that role he served as Executive Vice President, Film Strategy and Operations for Universal Pictures.
“From my vantage point at Universal over the years, it was clear that nobody else in the business was as adept at figuring out how to create value from content as the Blumhouse team,” said Prakash. “I’m thrilled to make the leap to join this entrepreneurial team in helping further build this beloved, global brand, and leveraging the company’s strengths and unique business approach to access all the emerging opportunities in the film and television space. I’m also very grateful to Donna Langley, Jeff Shell and the Universal team, who have been so supportive of me throughout my career and I look forward to our continued collaboration.”
“Jason and I have talked for a number of years about who might be my eventual successor. And Abhijay has been at the very top of our list since we had our first discussion on the subject,” said Layton. “We are thrilled because it felt like the stars aligned for Abhijay to join us at a time when I was ready to pull back from the day to day and yet remain active, part-time as Vice Chairman.”
“I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with Abhijay,” said Blum. “He’s one of the most astute, forward-thinking business leaders we’ve had the good fortune to partner with, and I’m thrilled that he’s joining Blumhouse and will help lead the company into its next phase of expansion.”
Added the Blumhouse principal: “After the success of ‘Paranormal Activity’ and long before there was a Blumhouse business model, Charles Layton, then the president of Alliance Films, was the only person to believe enough in me to offer a first look deal. It was that deal that financed our first few attempts and generated both the Insidious and Sinister franchises. Charles worked with me to actually design the model. Without Charles’ insights and his considerable wit, the company would not be the pathbreaking and entrepreneurial company I’m proud to lead. Thankfully we’ll still get his insight–and I hope his wit–for years to come.”
Prior to his tenure at Universal, Prakash served as a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in its Media and Entertainment division. He has also held positions at IGN Entertainment and Artisan Entertainment, the precursor company to Lionsgate; and previously worked as a public policy researcher. He received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Princeton University, in addition to holding a Master’s Degree in Film from Northwestern University, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Layton has been a senior executive in the movie industry for over 30 years. He has also notably held roles as President of Alliance Films and Executive Vice President of Miramax.
Blumhouse is a storied genre-oriented production company founded by Blum that has amassed over $5 billion in global box office since its inception in 2000. This year, the company will release five feature films theatrically, including Firestarter starring Zac Efron (Universal/Peacock); The Black Phone from director Scott Derrickson (Universal); Halloween Ends (Universal); BJ Novak’s directorial debut, Vengeance (Focus Features); and DASHCAM (Momentum Pictures). In television, most recently, the company produced the highly rated and lauded series The Thing About Pam (NBC), starring Renee Zellweger; Worst Roommate Ever (Netflix); and the documentary Our Father (Netflix).
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