In 2000, Blum, 46, moved from New York to L.A. and went from being a razzle-dazzle Miramax exec to a guy schlepping scripts in his crummy Ford Escort. "It was a huge wake-up call," he says. "I went from being at the top of everyone's phone sheet to the bottom. It was one of the toughest times in my life." Now he's riding high, having built a microbudget film empire that kicked off with 2007's Paranormal Activity. Since the $15,000 horror film earned $193 million worldwide, he has birthed such horror franchises as The Purge, Sinister and Insidious. Now he's branching out. He struck a 10-year, multiplatform deal with Universal in 2014; produced the Oscar best picture nominee Whiplash; and was a key player on HBO's much-discussed documentary series The Jinx. Still, he says, scary movies always will be at the core of Blumhouse, which has more than a dozen films primed for release in the next year alone, including Insidious: Chapter 3, Sinister 2 and Jem and the Holograms. "It's a lot easier to hear your own voice when you've had success," he says.