Blumhouse Founder Explains Not Hiring Female Filmmakers: "There Are Not A Lot Of Female Directors, Period"

Jason Blum is a name that is brought up time and time again when people are talking about the most prolific and profitable producers in the film industry. Maybe only behind someone like Marvel StudiosKevin Feige, Blum and his Blumhouse Productions have been on a tear in the last decade-plus, releasing hit microbudget film after hit microbudget film. And in a new interview promoting his next financial triumph “Halloween,” the producer discusses the future and why it’s been so difficult finding a female director to helm a project.

“I really believe in the way our company makes movies,” Blum says in an interview with Polygon. “I believe in our low budgets. I believe in using directors who aren’t necessarily from horror, like Jordan Peele or David Gordon Green. And I believe in our system which is unique and unusual.”

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Even though he gives readers the basic gist right there, the Blumhouse method for releasing films is as follows: take a simple, but intriguing plot. Hire an up-and-coming or relatively unknown director. Give the film a budget well under $10 million. And use the Blumhouse name and pedigree to promote the hell out of it. That basic formula has spawned films like “Get Out,” “The Purge,” “Happy Death Day,” and “Insidious” to name just several of many.

But one thing has been notably missing with those films, and in Hollywood, in general — female directors. Blumhouse, which has been seen as a breeding ground for untapped talent, has yet to sign a female director to helm one of its more recent horror films. As the interview points out, Blum has hired female directors in the past, but those films haven’t seen the same push or profits that come with “Ouija” or “Paranormal Activity.”

“We’re always trying to that,” he says about hiring female filmmakers. “We’re not trying to do it because of recent events. We’ve always been trying.”

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“There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror,” Blum continues. “I’m a massive admirer of [‘The Babadook’ director] Jennifer Kent. I’ve offered her every movie we’ve had available. She’s turned me down every time.”

To further illustrate his point, Blum mentions a recent project his production company has with Sony. While he doesn’t mention it by name, it could be the recently-announcedFantasy Island” from director Jeff Wadlow. He asks his colleagues to remind him of the female director that they met with for the project, but didn’t pan out. Names like Karyn Kusama, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, Katie Aselton, Mimi Leder, Zoe Lister-Jones, and Lynne Ramsay are all mentioned. Regarding the last name in that list, Blum joked, “No, she wouldn’t touch this with a 10-foot pole.”

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The name he was trying to come up with was Leigh Janiak, who is best known for her 2014 film “Honeymoon.” Blum says he’s offered her every project, but nothing has panned out yet.

So, while he hasn’t had the most stellar track-record with hiring female directors, Jason Blum and the folks at Blumhouse assure you they are trying.