M3GAN: from AI to A-lister
Blumhouse’s JASON BLUM on the doll’s phenomenal success — and sequel
JASON BLUM WANTS to show us his wig. Well, not his own wig as such, but the wig he wore when, weeks before M3GAN hit cinemas, Blumhouse’s CEO dressed as the soon-to-be iconic character for Halloween. “That’s real hair, by the way,” he says, proudly, via video chat. Presumably the entire costume was specially made for the occasion? “Yes, of course. I mean, you don’t find a M3GAN outfit in my size off the rack,” he deadpans.
That might change soon. Since the release of the horror film about an AI doll, built for parenting assistance before going, well, on a psychotic murder spree, M3GAN has been ubiquitous. There’ll be an army of them on the streets come next Halloween. “There will be,” laughs Blum. “We’ll shoot that for the DVD.” He laughs a lot during our interview — so would you if your film, which had a reported budget of $12 million, made $150 million at the box office
(so far). Other than the fact that it is so fantastically entertaining, Blum thinks its success is down to a unique tone, just at the right time.
“There’s been a real shortage of movies that are fun,” he says, alluding to the fact that M3GAN is as wildly comedic as it is stressful, not least with the doll’s already-iconic dance sequence (see below). “We’re coming out of Covid, and I think sometimes Hollywood is a little tone-deaf, with all these serious, serious movies. Obviously it’s important to provide movies that make people think, but it’s also important to provide an escape. And M3GAN is an escape.” Its success has delighted him, and not just financially. “With the rise of streaming, it’s more complicated than ever to get a movie to connect theatrically,” he says, explaining that doing that with a $300 million event movie is one thing, but having it happen with such a (relatively) small production is not so common. “This has showed that in a post-covid world, and a post-streaming world, if you tell a very clever, fun, interesting story, there’s an audience who will go pay to see your movie.”
And of course, a sequel is on the way. “James Wan is one of the most creative, inventive people I know,” says Blum of the film’s co-story writer. “He’s an idea machine, and as we were winding up the movie he had about seven different ideas
of what the sequel could be.” Blumhouse has announced that M3GAN 2.0 will be among us in January 2025.
For the M3GAN army, two years is a long way away. “We’ve got to write a script. I mean, you gotta give us a little bit of time,” laughs Blum. The point, he says, is that they want to get it right, having learned lessons from past franchises like the Paranormal Activity movies that would come out every year. “The creative process suffers when you do that,” he reflects. “You pretend you’re not making compromises, but you always do. So I wanted to give us enough time to make the movie great, and we have that now. And we have the whole team coming back, we’re not having to hire a writer or a director — all those people are in place.” The M3GAN stans will have to wait. Until then, there’s always Halloween.