Josh Raffel from Blumhouse called last week and said, “we’d like to invite you to an event Monday night – I can’t tell you what it is or what it is for, but I can promise it will be something right up your alley.” He was right.
Jason Blum, Malek Akkad, and Zanne Devine and David Thwaites of MIRAMAX not only revealed co-development of a new “Halloween” film, but announced that franchise creator John Carpenter would return to the iconic series for the first time in over 30 years to serve as Executive Producer, and maybe more.
In addition to advising in a creative capacity, Blum is lobbying hard to have Carpenter provide music for the new movie. Ink is barely dry on the partnership, so there aren’t many more details to report yet. The current aim is to be ready for a Halloween 2017 release, and preliminary talks with prospective directors are already underway. (Smart money bets Blumhouse alumni Mike Flanagan and Ti West are probably two names in those conversations.)
After the announcement, I had an opportunity to chat with MIRAMAX EVP Zanne Devine for several minutes and she was incredibly reassuring about how seriously everyone is taking this project. The commitment expressed by MIRAMAX, Blumhouse, and Malek Akkad is as much of a reason to be enthusiastic about this new “Halloween” as is John Carpenter’s involvement.
Here is what some of the principals had to say during the press event:
Jason Blum: There are a few movies that you can count on one hand that really got people into scary movies in the first place. And we are about to embark on a journey to make one of those movies.
Malek Akkad: I can honestly say that I am most excited about this grouping here. To be working with this great team at Miramax and obviously, nothing needs to be said about Blumhouse and Jason-
Jason Blum: And Ryan (Turek)!
Malek Akkad: And Ryan, of course! We are so thrilled, and this is going to be something that I think will really excite the fans immensely.
Jason Blum: All of us felt that the next “Halloween” movie shouldn’t exist without John Carpenter. When we all started talking about it, we were all saying, if we’re going to do this, we’ve got to do this with the guy who started it.
(John Carpenter is introduced.)
Jason Blum: John is going to executive produce, godfather, and hopefully score if we can talk him into it. He’s driving a hard bargain, but I’m a good negotiator, so hopefully he’s going to score it too. (John is going to) godfather us, and be involved with this movie creatively. In the initial few conversations that we’ve had with directors, they’ve felt the same way we did. No one wanted to do this without John. So we’re really excited he’s here.
John Carpenter: I decided after bitching for years and years about “Halloween” sequels, you know what, if I come aboard and shepherd this thing, and help, and support the director – I’m here with Malek Akkad, and I’m here with the horror superstar, Jason Blum – what could go wrong? So we’re going to give it a try.
Question: Is this a brand new version, is this a return to what was before, what are we looking at?
John Carpenter: We can’t tell you yet. Because we don’t know!
Question: What can you tell us?
John Carpenter: We’re probably going to go back to the original traditions that we started with early on. It’s kind of gone astray a little bit. I thought maybe that the remakes went off somewhere that I didn’t want them to go. Michael Myers is not a character. He is a force of nature. He is not a person. He is part supernatural, part human. He’s like the wind. He’s an evil wind. When you start straying away from that, and you get into explaining, you’ve lost. So hopefully we can guide it back in that direction.
Jason Blum: We’re not being vague because we know and we’re not telling anyone. We’re being vague because we don’t know. We’re talking about different things. I don’t think we want to make it too meta. I think all of us want to go back to make it like it was.
Malek Akkad: Back to the basics.
Jason Blum: Back to the basics, and not get into too much backstory which we don’t need. Right, John?
John Carpenter: Exactly.
Question: Do you have a timeline in mind?
Jason Blum: We don’t have a timeline in mind. My guess is Halloween 2017. (Zanne and Dan from Miramax agree.)
Question: Do you feel like this is a project for a promising up and coming director or someone who has proven themselves over the years?
Jason Blum: I wouldn’t box myself in to saying specifically either one. But I think it’s more likely that we would work with someone who has a couple movies under their belt. More likely, but not for sure.
Question: Is it being looked at as a single film or as a reinvention of the franchise?
John Carpenter: (playfully) We’ll see. Won’t say no.
Question: How much convincing did they have to do to get you back?
John Carpenter: Not much, not much. Malek and I have known each other for awhile and he said, why don’t you come aboard, and I met with Jason, and I was sold. Like I say, horror superstar.
Question: How recently did this come together and how much have you been looking at the project?
John Carpenter: We just got together. Matter of fact, (Jason) and I met, what, was it two weeks ago?
Jason Blum: We met two weeks ago. But our first meeting (with Miramax) was a year ago. And our first meeting with Malek was nine months ago. It’s been a long time.
Question: Are you planning on going bigger or is this going to be a smaller scale Blumhouse film?
Jason Blum: It will definitely be our scale. We’re not going to make it for $15 million. It will be a Blumhouse style budget, which the original was, as well. The second you start getting into 15 and 20 million dollars, you have to explain everything and do all the kind of “developmenty” things that none of us want to do. There’s a correlation between the budget and the creative end that goes along with it.
Question: If you were to do the score for this film, would you want to bring aboard Cody and the band?
John Carpenter: You know it!
Jason Blum: We really do want John to score it. We’ve had very early conversations with a couple of directors and every director that we’ve talked to wants that to happen, too.
Question: What do you see as the biggest challenge for this project?
John Carpenter: The biggest challenge is to be true to the original spirit of the movie. Don’t get carried away. Tell a simple story. Tell a frightening story. Don’t get carried away with anything. This is a “Halloween” movie. The original “Halloween” was made for very little money, and it was a little scary tale. That’s what we should be doing.
Jason Blum: I agree with that 5000%.
John Carpenter, the multiple award-winning and legendary filmmaker and creator of the original Halloween films, will return to the franchise as executive producer on a new production of the iconic horror movie, it was jointly announced today by MIRAMAX® and Trancas International Films — MIRAMAX® and Blumhouse Productions will co-finance development and production, with Malek Akkad serving as producer under his Trancas banner and Jason Blum producing for Blumhouse. MIRAMAX®, which holds worldwide distribution rights, will determine its theatrical distribution partner at a future date.
The HALLOWEEN film franchise that was started in part by Carpenter and Moustapha Akkad in 1978 has spawned ten films generating a total of nearly $400 million in worldwide box office.
John Carpenter said: “38 years after the original Halloween I’m going to help to try to make the 10th sequel the scariest of them all.”
Malek Akkad said: “Trancas International is thrilled to be teaming up with Miramax on Halloween, one of the most enduring horror franchises in film. We are also very excited to be working with Jason Blum and the whole team at Blumhouse. Together, along with the return of legendary filmmaker John Carpenter, we are eager to make a film that will be a milestone in the franchise's legacy and that will excite the fans, young and old.”
Zanne Devine, MIRAMAX’s EVP Film & Television, said: “Malek Akkad’s legacy with the Halloween franchise accompanied by Blumhouse’s unprecedented talent in the horror genre lays the foundation of a formidable team to create the next chapter of this iconic fan favorite. Having John Carpenter godfather the reboot of the iconic franchise he helped create brings it full circle. We couldn’t be in better company bringing Halloween back to the big screen.”
Jason Blum said: “Halloween is one of those milestone films that inspired everyone at our company to get into the world of scary movies. The great Malek Akkad and John Carpenter have a special place in the hearts of all genre fans and we are so excited that Miramax brought us together. We cannot wait to find and collaborate with the right filmmaker to give Halloween fans the movie they deserve.”
David Thwaites will oversee the reboot for MIRAMAX® with Carpenter and the companies planning to immediately go out to filmmakers and fast-track the project.
The Academy Award®-winning John Carpenter has written, directed, composed and/or edited over 20 films over the course of his career. An international household name, he is probably best known for his iconic features Halloween, The Thing, The Fog and Big Trouble in Little China, to name a few. As a musician, Carpenter kicks off his world tour in Los Angeles later this month, featuring songs from his Lost Themes and Lost Themes II albums – which he recorded with his son, Cody Carpenter. The 30+ city tour ends in Paris late November.