Home » James Wan & Jason Blum Talk Blumhouse Merger and the End of Insidious – Exclusive Interview

James Wan & Jason Blum Talk Blumhouse Merger and the End of Insidious – Exclusive Interview

by Andrew J. Salazar
The evil Lipstick-Face Demon returns in INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR, produced by James Wan and Jason Blum.

Now, 13 years after the release of the first seminal film, creators James Wan and Jason Blum are putting an end to their Insidious franchise with Insidious: The Red Door. The fifth and final chapter is the feature directorial debut of franchise star Patrick Wilson, which further cements his “Scream King” status that includes his main role in The Conjuring series (also created by Wan). As you can already tell, an overarching theme of family runs through the Insidious saga, both in front and behind of the camera. In addition to Wan and Blum overseeing the franchise as producers, original screenwriter Leigh Whannel has written every film and even stepped into the director’s chair for Insidious: Chapter 3. For this latest sequel, Whannel developed the story with resident Blumhouse writer Scott Teems (Firestarter, Halloween Kills), who’s also part of the writing team for The Exorcist: Believer which releases this October. 

Insidious: The Red Door is a direct sequel to Chapter 2 (since the third and fourth films are prequels). Set ten years after the events of the second film, audiences find the Lambert family haunted by their repressed memories and drifting apart. Josh (Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) are now divorced with the pair sharing custody of their two sons Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and Foster (Andrew Astor). When it’s time for Dalton to pursue his path as an art student and move into his east coast ivy league university, Josh fails to prove himself as a loving father. With the estranged Dalton finally on his own as an adult, the demons from his past use this as an opportunity to reclaim his body. Miles apart from each other, Josh and Dalton must re-learn their astral projection abilities and re-enter The Further if they are to stop this nightmare for good. 

Insidious is now the third Blumhouse series to reach the five-film mark, coming after The Purge and Paranormal Activity franchises. And following the major news of Blumhouse merging with James Wan’s own production company, Atomic Monster, Insidious surely won’t be the last film series from both producers that will reach similar heights. Insidious: The Red Door is the second collaboration between the two producers just this year. The duo was also responsible for the recent original hit M3GAN, which broke enough box office records earlier in the year to already secure a sequel, appropriately titled M3GAN 2.0. Looking to the near future, Jason Blum is placing all his bets on Blumhouse’s highly-anticipated Five Nights at Freddy’s adaptation. Meanwhile, Wan will be reuniting with stars Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson this December in the worlds of DC at Warner Bros. with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

The Insidious franchise will leave behind a special legacy within modern horror, and we were lucky enough to get both James Wan and Jason Blum’s thoughts on why these films have managed to stay as popular over 13 years. In our exclusive interview with the producing duo behind Insidious: The Red Door, we discuss why this truly is the end of the series (for now) and what lies ahead for James Wan and Jason Blum as we learn that the merger deal between their two companies is almost complete. With the promotion for Five Nights at Freddy’s currently going viral, the duo additionally reveals to us that more video game adaptations are in their immediate shared plans as well.

Exclusive Interview with James Wan & Jason Blum for Insidious: The Red Door

James, you’ve played such a huge role in Patrick Wilson’s journey from actor to director. Since not every horror franchise also makes it to its fifth and final chapter, I have to ask what new flavors do you think Patrick brings to Insidious: The Red Door that maybe the previous films didn’t have?

James Wan: Patrick obviously approaches it from an actor’s standpoint, right? So really learning the characters, shaping the performances, and telling the story that he wanted were all very important for him. I know that from speaking with Patrick, that’s definitely one area that he knows and that he can really focus on, as an actor who’s made a bunch of these movies. He knew that when moving into the shoes of a director, he wanted to come at it from a perspective or an angle of strength that he has. So I really think what makes this movie special is that he really focuses on the father and son dynamic that he has with Dalton, and he dives into that more than the previous movies.

Director Patrick Wilson gives notes to actor Ty Simpkins on a college dorm room set from the behind the scenes of INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR.
Patrick Wilson & Ty Simpkins on the set of ‘Insidious: The Red Door’ courtesy of Sony Pictures

Jason, it’s crazy to think Insidious is still going strong 13 years after the first film. Why do you think the Insidious franchise has managed to stay so popular and keep horror fans hungry after all these years?

Jason Blum: I think James really laid the groundwork with the Lambert family to make them really compelling. People are very connected to their journey, they want to see what happens to them next. I think the tone of the movies is very unique too. They’re a lot funnier than most horror movies. So when you’re going to see an Insidious movie, you know you’re going to be scared, but you also know you’ll have a good time. I think there are a lot of reasons, but those are kind of the two primary reasons that the franchise has had such staying power.

I know you’re one to say “Never say never” when it comes to ending franchises for good, Jason. I asked you the same before when discussing The Forever Purge, so I want to ask you again, is this really the end for Insidious? Do you see any potential for this series to possibly continue with spin-offs and so on?

Jason Blum: You better see this Insidious, it’s the last one! (laughs) To give a more serious answer, [The Red Door] is going to be the last we’re going to see of Insidious for a while. It may not be a forever rest, but it’s certainly going to be a very long rest. So, if someone comes up with some idea in 10 years, who knows? But there’s not a plan – as there has been with every prior Insidious movie – there’s no current plan in place for number six.

So both of you guys are looking to dominate horror in a big way with the news of the Atomic Monster and Blumhouse merger. What do you want horror fans to know about your two production companies coming together and how are you, as the founders, planning to work in unison moving forward?

Jason Blum: Well, our agreement is almost done. It’s almost official, so we’re both excited about that. And the second thing is, it’s not new for us, you know? We collaborated on M3GAN, and we’ve collaborated on all these Insidious movies. The results of our collaborations, I should say, have been very positive. So for the fans, I think the good news is, instead of one movie every couple of years, it’ll be [new movies] every year. Some movies will be more Atomic Monster, some movies will be more Blumhouse. But both of the company’s DNA will be in all of our movies. I think that will, ultimately, make for better movies for the fans and more of them.

James Wan: I agree with that. You know, the fact that we can kind of help each other out on our separate projects and still come together on the ones that we’re working on together is what makes this a very interesting and unique sort of collaboration. To what Jason said, I think this allows us to potentially put out more projects because between Jason and myself, we have so many projects that we’re super excited about but we just don’t always have all the resources to put them out there. By coming together, however, we can do that and we can get more product out there that we really believe in and that we think fans will be passionate about as well.

The evil Lipstick-Face Demon creeps over the shoulder of an adult Dalton from behind in the Further in INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR.
Ty Simpkins in ‘Insidious: The Red Door’ courtesy of Sony Pictures

Tying back to Insidious, James, can you speak on the potential to usher in more actors, screenwriters, or other types of creatives into the director’s chair for future projects? Do you enjoy being in that mentor-like role?

James Wan: I mean, pretty much a lot of my franchises I’ve passed them on to the collaborators that I’ve worked with, whether they’re actors or writers like Leigh Whannell, Gary Dauberman, and now Patrick Wilson. You know, it’s something that’s worked very well for me, and I’m very, very lucky that I met these people that I love and I get along with. I hope that we can continue collaborations outside of myself being the director. Now, they get to be my director, basically!

Finally, I have to congratulate you, Jason, on the promotion for Five Nights at Freddy’s as it’s continuing to dominate social media. Is it safe to assume that the film’s popularity, before it’s even been released, is opening the door for more video game adaptations at Blumhouse?

Jason Blum: Well, I think the right video games make great source material for movies. I mean, you saw that even with [The Super Mario Bros. Movie]. It’s a different genre, but it was an amazingly successful movie. And I certainly hope that’s the case [with Five Nights at Freddy’s]. James is actually a big gamer and we have a games division of our company that we’ve been working on. I’m definitely looking forward to finding more games that are popular and that we could turn into horror movies.

Insidious: The Red Door hits theaters July 7!

Follow Managing Editor Andrew J. Salazar on Twitter: @AndrewJ626

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