Can Budget-Slasher Jason Blum Prove The Way Hollywood Makes Movies Is Horrifyingly Wrong?

If you want to meet the smartest man in Hollywood, head east from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre until the Walk of Fame fades into a barren stretch of dental clinics and Filipino restaurants and enter a tasteful, almost camouflaged midcentury office that, until recently, was the headquarters of Cat Fancymagazine.

Ask for Jason Blum and, like Bloody Mary bursting from a mirror, he appears. “Buddy!” Blum shouts, whether it’s your first meeting or your 30th. Then the boyish 46-year-old horror filmmaker — the producer of five of the 10 most profitable hits in the last five years, plus 2009’s Paranormal Activity, the most profitable movie in history — beckons you to follow as he bolts down an eerie, lamp-lined hallway, past a dozen of his buzzing employees, to his office, where the remains of catnip mice have scattered for the new owner’s toy: a giant ax.

“I’m going to give you a ride in the van!” Blum says, and seconds later, you’re out his private glass door and back outside, blinking in the sun. He slides open the door of a 2005 white Chevy Astro and decides where you should sit, and his assistant speeds off. It’s been three minutes since you’ve arrived at Blumhouse Productions.

Blum, a fast-moving, fast-talking native New Yorker, has yet to embrace Los Angeles. He has, however, acclimated. The van is Blum’s adaptation to traffic: a mobile office with bamboo window shades (“I don’t like the way L.A. looks, so I have it all covered”), a flatscreen monitor and a keyboard Velcroed to an ergonomic lap pillow. He bought the van in 2006, used, and transformed it on the cheap. A printer rides shotgun.

The Chevy has the spirit of his low-budget horror movies. It’s a little grimy and a lot brilliant. “Blumhouse Electric,” an apt description of the man himself, is painted on the sides. Instead of a luxury SUV flaunting his financial success — $2 billion in global box office receipts from 22 films, with an average cost of $4.5 million each — Blum travels Hollywood disguised as a repairman. Which he is. The current model of expensive, high-risk blockbusters is broken. Blum is the brainiac who can fix it.

When Ouija, Hasbro’s $105 million follow-up to Transformers and G.I. Joe, was frozen in development hell, Blum raised a sledgehammer and volunteered to make it for $5 million. “We just started with the name and redid it,” he shrugs. His Blumhouse version of Ouija, released in 2014, made $102.5 million. Instead of a loss, he earned the studio’s money back 20 times over.

Read the rest of this article from LA Weekly.