Universal is shelling out an eye-popping $400 million to buy a new “Exorcist” trilogy with plans to screen some of the films on Peacock, its new streaming service. In a coup, Ellen Burstyn, the Oscar-winning actress who first did battle with the devil in the 1973 original, will reprise her role as Chris MacNeil.
David Gordon Green, the filmmaker of the studio’s latest “Halloween” reboot, is directing the upcoming “Exorcist” franchise, which will be produced by Blumhouse. In an ironic twist, Blumhouse made a name for itself producing low-budget horror hits like “Get Out” and “The Purge,” which enjoyed capacious profit margins due to their paltry costs. Streaming has scrambled those economics.
The pact is the latest in a long line of massive deals for movies signed by streaming services. It follows the more than $450 million that Netflix shelled out for the rights to two “Knives Out” sequels, as well as the $125 million that Amazon paid for “Coming 2 America” and the $200 million the e-retailer spent on the Chris Pratt sci-fi adventure “The Tomorrow War.” In recent months, media conglomerates like Disney, WarnerMedia and Viacom have launched subscription services, and the increased competition has led to a boom time for content creators. In this race, Peacock has found itself punching up, unable to land buzzy projects to equal the likes of “The Crown” (Netflix), “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus) or “The Boys”(Amazon Prime), but this deal should help raise its profile.