‘Get Out’ Producer Jason Blum On Horror Pic’s Road From Sundance To Oscars & AMPAS Embrace Of Genre

Michael Buckner

Exactly one year ago, Universal/Blumhouse’s horror title Get Out teed off in Park City, Utah as the secret Sundance Film Festival premiere to a rousing response prior to its Feb. 24 release.

The $4.5M film directed, written and produced by Jordan Peele follows a young black man who meets his Caucasian girlfriend’s offbeat, and racist, family for the first time. The pic opened to $33.8M and churned out an unforeseen 5x-plus multiple of $175.6M stateside and a near global haul of $255M. Despite the thrill and laughs which Get Out served up, Peele’s pic hit the nail on the head when it came to addressing racial tension in our nation.


Well, today Get Out scored four Oscar nominations. In addition, Peele became the first African American filmmaker to be honored with trifecta Oscar noms in the director, original screenplay and best picture categories. For Jason Blum, it reps his second best picture Oscar nomination after 2014’s Whiplash. On Saturday night, the producer was also lauded with his second PGA Stanley Kramer award for Peele’s pic following his 2014 honor for the HBO film The Normal Heart. 

Peele and his fellow producer Sean McKittrick opted to make Get Out through the Blumhouse system, which streamlines and economizes the filmmaking process including editing and sound under one roof.

Looking back did Blum ever think that Get Out would resonate to this extent?

“Yes and No. No, when we greenlit the movie, even when I saw the movie. But ,yes, after the great Rotten Tomatoes score and the film’s second weekend,” said Blum referring to Get Out‘s -15% hold ($28.2M) which is unheard of for a horror movie. Typically they drop by at least 60% in their second weekend.

“More people saw Get Out on opening weekend than in the entire run of Whiplash,” said Blum to that Sony Pictures Classics release which only earned $13M at the domestic B.O. 

Explaining why it was so important to launch Get Out at Sundance a year ago, Blum says, “Initially, we had to frame the movie as a straight up under 25 scary movie. We didn’t anticipate we’d get awards attention. When I first saw the movie, I felt that it was special and elevated and could play on multiple levels. I was the one who wanted the movie to be at Sundance and did that because it would add another layer to the audience and in the way the movie would be received.”

The other breakthrough that Get Out made today was garnering more recognition for the horror genre by the Academy. Arguably the last horror film (not counting 1991’s Silence of the Lambs which is a thriller) to be embraced by voters was 1973’s The Exorcist which landed 10 nominations, including best picture, and two win for sound and adapted screenplay.

Part of the Academy’s nod to Get Out stems from Universal giving the pic a proper theatrical release, rather than jettisoning it to streaming OTT services. A theatrical play has only amplified Get Out‘s message on society to an even wider audience.

“By holding on to windows, genre movies have become more important in the theatrical experience. The Academy celebrates the theatrical moviegoing experience and great quality, artistry and movies which attempt to make the world a better place,” adds Blum.

In the original ending of Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya’s protagonist Chris Washington goes to jail, and that conclusion was thumbed down by test audiences.

“Daniel’s performance was so powerful that there was this feeling whether you were black or white; you’re rooting for this guy in an incredible way.  The audience really connected with him, and (with that original ending) you’re almost cheating the audience after what you put him through. When you make them fall in love with him and then put him in jail, it took away the larger point that Jordan was making.”

Adds Blum, “The Academy honors movies that get into the culture across the United States and I think that’s what Get Out does.”


This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2018/01/oscars-get-out-jason-blum-jordan-peele-1202267429/