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Whannell, known for the Saw and Insidious franchises, has inked a two-year overall deal with Blumhouse for film and television. The first-look pact will include projects he writes, directs or produces. The filmmaker and Blumhouse have collaborated on seven projects to date, with The Invisible Man off to a strong start that could see it earn $26 million over its opening weekend.
Whannell broke into the horror scene by co-writing and starring in Saw, the 2004 low-budget sensation he created with James Wan that has spawned a sprawling franchise for Lionsgate. In 2010, Whannell and Wan struck horror gold again by launching the Insidious franchise with Blumhouse.
“Leigh creates movies which not only build franchises but fundamentally change the landscape of their genre,” Blumhouse’s Jason Blum said Saturday in a statement. “After he and James Wan made Saw, it launched dozens of copycats. Their work with Blumhouse on Insidious founded not just a franchise but dozens of classical proscenium PG-13 supernatural horror films. I have no doubt that will be true for The Invisible Man and for anything else he wants to create. I just want to be there with him when he does!”
The Invisible Man marks Whannell’s third directing effort, following 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3 and 2018’s Upgrade, both for Blumhouse. What he’ll do next is unclear, but it’s conceivable he could end up tackling more Universal monster movies given the success of The Invisible Man and Blum’s strong ties to Universal.
“Ten years ago, I walked into Jason Blum’s office thinking that I was having a general meeting with a producer who liked horror movies — little did I know that a decade-long partnership and friendship was about to begin,” said Whannell. “I have since watched his then-infant company, Blumhouse, grow into a powerhouse of genre films; a nurturing place that is willing to take risks on people. Indeed, they have taken plenty of risks on me and I look forward to taking many more with them as they continue to grow in the world of film and television.”
Whannell is repped by CAA and Myman, Greenspan, Fox, Rosenberg, Mobasser, Younger & Light.
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