Universal and Peacock to revive iconic franchise based on THE EXORCIST with partners Blumhouse and Morgan Creek, now that they have acquired the rights to create new IP. Academy-Award nominee Leslie Odom Jr. is set to star in the franchise directed by David Gordon Green, with Ellen Burstyn returning to her iconic, Academy-Award-nominated role.
The deal, which encompasses three films in total, further solidifies the partnership between Universal and Peacock. Along with Universal’s celebrated history with Blumhouse, the deal gives both property and audiences optionality without forgoing the theatrical experience.
This fresh, new take on the beloved property is a continuation of the quintessential possession horror film, and will star Academy Award nominee Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton, One Night in Miami). Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman, Requiem for a Dream) will reprise her role as Chris MacNeil. David Gordon Green (Halloween Kills, Halloween) will direct the first film – reuniting him with Universal and Blumhouse after the success of reviving the Halloween franchise.
"There's no better time to be joining forces with the team at Peacock, reuniting with the great team at Universal, and finally getting to work with my friends at Blumhouse, than on this classic franchise, '' said David Robinson, Morgan Creek President. "David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Scott Teems, and Peter Sattler have put together a compelling continuation of this iconic tale and I can't wait to bring this to fans around the world."
Jason Blum, CEO and Founder of Blumhouse said, “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 serve 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."
Halloween alone resulted in more than $250 million in box office worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade franchise. It also set a new record for the biggest opening weekend in history for a horror film starring a woman (Jamie Lee Curtis).
The first film in THE EXORCIST trilogy will be released theatrically on October 13, 2023. The deal is indicative of the continued success between Universal and Blumhouse. Over the last eight years the partnership has had a remarkable run with original box office breakout hits like Get Out, Split, and The Invisible Man. Blumhouse and Universal films have collectively grossed more than $3 billion at the worldwide box office, with 10 No. 1 openings at the domestic box office.
The original 1973 film, The Exorcist, has grossed over $441 million to date, making it the highest domestic grossing horror film for a 44-year-long run. The picture was also nominated for 10 Academy-Awards, including one for Ellen Burstyn, who was nominated for best actress. The film also nabbed the honor of being the first horror film ever nominated for best picture.
Scott Teems (Halloween Kills, The Quarry), Danny McBride (Halloween Kills, Halloween), and David Gordon Green teamed up for the story being penned by Peter Sattler (Broken Diamonds) and David Gordon Green. Jason Blum will produce on behalf of Blumhouse. David Robinson and James Robinson will produce for Morgan Creek. David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, and Couper Samuelson will executive produce. Ryan Turek is overseeing the project for Blumhouse.
Leslie Odom, Jr. is represented by CAA, Untitled Entertainment, and Jackoway Austen, Tyerman, Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein. Ellen Burstyn is represented by UTA and MGMT Entertainment. David Gordon Green is represented by CAA and Cinetic Media.
About Ellen Burstyn
Ellen Burstyn's illustrious sixty-year acting career encompasses film, stage, and television. In 1975, she became the third woman in history to win both a Tony Award and an Academy Award in the same year for her work in Same Time, Next Year on Broadway and in the film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, for which she also received a Golden Globe nomination and a British Academy Award for best actress. She became a “triple crown winner” when she received her first Emmy for a guest appearance on Law & Order: SVU (2009). She won her second Emmy for her role in the miniseries Political Animals (2013). Additionally, she has received six Emmy nominations and five Academy Award nominations, including her nomination for best actress in The Exorcist (1973). She recently wrapped production on Three Months. Her recent films include Pieces of a Woman (2020), The House of Tomorrow (2017), The Tale (2018), Nostalgia (2018), and Lucy in the Sky (2019). Her past work includes The Last Picture Show (1971, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations), Resurrection (1981), and Requiem for a Dream (2000, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations). In 2014, she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Ellen is currently co-president of the Actors Studio, alongside Al Pacino and Alec Baldwin. She holds four honorary doctorates and lectures throughout the country. In 2006, she became a national best-selling author with the publication of her memoir, Lessons in Becoming Myself.
About Leslie Odom Jr.
Leslie Odom, Jr. is a multifaceted, award-winning vocalist, songwriter, author, and actor. With a career that spans all performance genres, he has received recognition with Tony and Grammy Awards as well as Emmy and, most recently, two Academy Award nominations for his excellence and achievements in Broadway, television, film, and music. Odom most recently starred in the critically acclaimed Amazon film adaptation of One Night in Miami…, in which he performed the songs of legendary singer Sam Cooke. His portrayal of the soul icon and musical performance of the original song “Speak Now” was met with widespread praise and critical acclaim, earning him multiple award nominations. He can currently be heard voicing the character of ‘Owen Tillerman’ in Season 2 of the Apple TV+ animated musical-comedy series Central Park, and will next star in David Chase’s Sopranos prequel Many Saints of Newark that is set to be released in theaters on October 1st.
CAA negotiated the deal. It's the second high-profile, groundbreaking package the agency has negotiated for major IP in the last six months.