Universal Pays $400 Million for New ‘Exorcist’ Trilogy Featuring Leslie Odom Jr. and Ellen Burstyn

“Halloween” director David Gordon Green will direct the first film in the rebooted franchise based on the 1973 horror classic

The Exorcist
Warner Bros.

Universal and Peacock have acquired the rights to a new trilogy branching off from “The Exorcist,” the 1973 horror masterpiece from William Friedkin, which will star Leslie Odom Jr. and bring back Ellen Burstyn to reprise her role from the original film.

The New York Times, which first reported the news, says that the deal for the franchise was upwards of $400 million. CAA negotiated the deal, marking the second high-profile deal the agency has negotiated in the last sixth months after the equally staggering $450 million+ Netflix spent on the “Knives Out” sequels.

David Gordon Green, who helped to revitalize the “Halloween” franchise, will direct the first film in the new “Exorcist” franchise, which will be released theatrically on Oct. 13, 2023. Gordon Green worked on the story with the rebooted “Halloween” team, including Scott Teems, Danny McBride, Peter Sattler (“Broken Diamonds”) and David Gordon Green.

Blumhouse and Morgan Creek are also producing the franchise. Jason Blum will produce on behalf of Blumhouse and David Robinson and James Robinson will produce for Morgan Creek. Green, McBride and Couper Samuelson will executive produce. Ryan Turek is overseeing the project for Blumhouse.

The new “Exorcist” film will not be a reboot but a continuation of the original franchise and will be spread across three films. Though plot details were not disclosed, the New York Times said Odom Jr. would play a father whose daughter appears to be possessed and seeks out Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil to help him.

“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,” David Robinson, Morgan Creek president, said in a statement. “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.”

“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 serving streaming viewers well by bringing an exciting franchise like the ‘Exorcist’ to Peacock too,” Jason Blum, CEO and founder of Blumhouse, said in a statement. “I’m grateful to be working with David Robinson and the great team at Morgan Creek on this iconic franchise.”

The original 1973 film “The Exorcist” has grossed over $441 million to date, making it the highest domestic grossing horror film. The picture was also nominated for 10 Oscars, 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. 

The rebooted “Halloween” had a similar success trajectory, grossing $250 million worldwide at the box office and bringing back Jamie Lee Curtis in her iconic role. The second film in the franchise is set to release later this year.

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, Cinetic Media and Pryor Cashman LLP.


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