Horror-movie kingpin Blumhouse Productions has launched Blumhouse International, a foreign sales division for many of the company’s films. The division already holds a distribution and servicing deal with Stuart Ford‘s IM Global, and the two companies will begin shopping titles at the Cannes Film Festival next week.
The new division opens with two titles for sale, “Sinister 2,” the sequel to the 2012 hit, and “Stretch,” a comedic thriller that Joe Carnahan will direct. Both projects are set to start shooting later this year.
“We are excited to expand our company’s international presence as the success of our micro-budget films continues to grow across the world," Blumhouse founder Jason Blum said in a statement. He has yet to announce an executive to run the sales division, though Wednesday's announcement said that was forthcoming.
Blumhouse has had great success making micro-budget horror films like “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious.” Those films satisfy a need for studios who either want to make lavish tentpoles such as “Iron Man 3” or films with minimal risk and huge upside like "Paranormal Activity."
Blumhouse has a first-look deal with Universal, signed in June 2011, and Blumhouse International will handle sales for films that do not fall under that deal. The first movie for Universal, "The Purge," will open in theaters June 7. It is a co-production with Platinum Dunes.
Foreign pre-sales can insulate a movie from a poor domestic box office performance. If you make enough money on the sales it can cover the films’ budget and some of the marketing costs.
As a result of surging international box office, may sales companies, such as Exclusive Media, IM Global and Film Nation, wield a tremendous amount of influence in Hollywood.
One reason Blumhouse is getting into the lucrative foreign sales arena is that many of the company's recent films have performed as well or better overseas than they have domestically.
"Paranormal Activity 4" grossed $86.9 million overseas and $53.8 million domestically while "Insidious" made $43 overseas and $54 domestically.