Famed horror producer Jason Blum, who has garnered a successful career frightening audiences with such movie franchises as Paranormal Activity, Insidious and the Halloween sequel trilogy, had his own scare recently: learning Taylor Swift had decided to release her Eras Tour concert film on the same day of his latest supernatural horror follow-up. As a result, the Oscar-nominated movie producer decided to move up the release date of his latest horror sequel, The Exorcist: Believer, from the spooky date of Friday, October 13 to Friday, October 6.
“The one thing that scares me to death is Taylor Swift!” Blum jokingly told EW during an interview. “We had this amazing Friday the 13th in October, which is the single best day to release a scary movie,” said the producer, who’s making a planned trilogy of Exorcist films in partnership with the franchise’s rights-holders Morgan Creek.
But then Swift made a surprise announcement last month that she would premiere an Eras Tour concert movie on the same date. The Emmy-nominated Blum immediately reacted to the news by writing “#Exorswift” on X, the social platform formerly known as Twitter, in the hopes of creating interest in a Barbenheimer-type phenomenon.
Later that same day, Blum revealed that The Exorcist: Believer, which is being distributed by Universal Pictures, would instead be released one week earlier. “Look what you made me do,” he wrote on Titter at the time. “The Exorcist: Believer moves to 10/6/23 #TaylorWins.”
“Obviously, we moved off that [date] and we bowed our head to Taylor Swift,” the Golden Globe-nominated producer said. “It was too risky to see if Exorswift was going to take or not. People will still have the Exorswift opportunity, so maybe we got to have our cake and eat it too.”
The Exorcist: Believer was directed by David Gordon Green, who last worked with Blum on the Halloween sequel trilogy, which concluded last October with Halloween Ends. The filmmakers’ next collaboration stars young actors Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill as a pair of demonically possessed children, Leslie Odom Jr. as the father of Jewett’s character, and Ann Dowd as a nurse.
The franchise’s latest entry also brings back Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn, who reprises her role of Chris MacNeil for the first time since the original film. The series’ first installment, which was helmed by the late William Friedkin, was released 50 years ago, on December 26, 1973.
“I really give David Gordon Green credit for that,” Blum also said. “He was able to get Jamie Lee Curtis comfortable [on 2018’s Halloween], and David got Ellen to feel comfortable to join us in this iteration of her iconic movie.”
The Exorcist: Believer follows two local girls escape into the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of the episode. This unleashes a horrific chain of events, forcing the father of one of the girls to seek out Chris, the only living person who has experienced anything like it before.
While The Exorcist: Believer is the first entry in an intended new trilogy of horror films, Swift’s Eras Tour already promises to be a huge blockbuster for October. It earned a massive $26 million in AMC Theatres presales in a single day (which broke the previous record of $16.9 million held by Spider-Man: No Way Home).
The Grammy winning singer-songwriter’s musical movie has the potential to earn over $100 million during its opening weekend. Those numbers would instantly make Swift’s movie the highest-grossing concert-film of all time.