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Movie Jail: This week's defendant is...Blumhouse Productions!

12.14.2015

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This is Movie Jail, a unique maximum security prison that houses some of the worst writers, directors, actors and producers from Hollywood and beyond. Their crimes? The offenses vary from convict to convict but most of these inmates have contributed negatively to the film world to some capacity* and his or her misdeeds have covered a long enough period of time that the authorities had to intervene. In each column a defendant is put on trial, arguments are made, and then it is up to YOU, the jury, to decide if the person is guilty or not guilty of crimes against cinema. Their lives are in your hands, dude.

The Defendant

Blumhouse Productions Logo

The Case

The Prosecution: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Jem and the Holograms, Sinister 2, The Gallows, Area 51, The Lazarus Effect, The Boy Next Door, Jessabelle, Ouija, Mercy, Mockingbird, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Plush, Insidious: Chapter 2, Dark Skies, Paranormal Activity 4, The Babymakers

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Blumhouse Productions exploded onto the scene with 2009's Paranormal Activity, which was a big hit with critics and at the box office, and in six short years, they have produced more than 35 feature films. But for every decent movie the production house has made, there's three to four awful ones, and they also have a bad habit of milking sequels.

While most of Blumhouse's low-budget films have done well financially, critics haven't been high on many of their big screen projects. Less than half of their 2015 releases have fresh ratings at Rotten Tomatoes, with The Boy Next Door, The Lazarus Effect, Area 51, The Gallows, Sinister 2 and Jem and the Holograms all scoring below 30%. The prosecution could also do without yet another found footage flick from the company, and although their horror movies are almost critic-proof in terms of box office/DVD/VOD sales, they've had very mixed results outside of the genre.

If the Paranormal Activity franchise belongs in Movie Jail, then so does Blumhouse Productions. The prosecution isn't recommending a life sentence, but it's clear that we need to do something about the company, and we believe the production house needs to spend at least six months behind bars for their enormous output of mediocre-to-terrible films.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

The Defense: The Visit, The Gift, Creep, Insidious: Chapter 3, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Whiplash, The Purge: Anarchy, The Normal Heart, 13 Sins, Oculus, The Purge, The Lords of Salem, The Bay, Sinister, Paranormal Activity 3, Insidious, Paranormal Activity 2, Paranormal Activity

Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution almost seems to be more perturbed by my client's business model than the movies they've made. But at the end of the day, Blumhouse is in the business to make money and maximize profits, and their "buy low/sell high" style of producing films has worked out pretty well for them so far. The company does have more than a few ugly films on its resume, however it's not like they have been The Asylum-level bad.

Milking sequels isn't anything new, especially when it comes to horror movies, but the first three Paranormal Activity films make a solid trilogy, and The Purge: Anarchy was an improvement over its predecessor. Several of Blumhouse's fright flicks (They Bay, Oculus, Creep) have scored high marks from critics, and they also had a critical darling on their hands last year with Whiplash. The company's other well-received films include The Gift, Stretch and the HBO TV movie The Normal Heart.

Although some horror fans might see Blumhouse as more of a curse than a blessing, we feel locking up the production house is a little much. It would be one thing if they were only churning out unnecessary sequels and reboots, but the company has multiple successful and original movies to its name, and the defense doubts most jury members will want to send Blumhouse to the big house.

The Gift Joel Edgerton Jason Bateman Rebecca Hall

IN CLOSING...

Do you think Blumhouse is more concerned with making money than good movies, or have you enjoyed their films? Should we toss them in Movie Jail with Adam Sandler's Happy Madison shingle, or are you a fan of the production house? Is Blumhouse Productions GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?

*The cases for and against a defendant going to Movie Jail by the author are not necessarily his views and opinions but they are some of the beliefs that one would use to effectively make an argument for both sides. Not quite a devil's advocate but you get the point. Anyway, this is all in fun so don't take it too seriously. We have a separate jail for those people called "Troll Tower" and believe me you do NOT want to go there.

WHAT SAY YOU, GUILTY OR NOT?

Insidious The Purge Sinister

LAST WEEK'S VERDICT

Martin Campbell

The results are in from last week's trial, and the jury has found GoldenEye and Casino Royale director Martin Campbell to be NOT GUILTY of all charges. Jury members admitted that Mr. Campbell has helmed a few big whiffs like Green Lantern and Beyond Borders, but said he's still a gifted action filmmaker, and that his good movies outweigh his bad ones. On a side note, the court was a little surprised to see so much love for Mr. Campbell's Vertical Limit.

PREVIOUS VERDICTS

GUILTY Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Vince Vaughn, Tim Burton, The Farrelly Brothers, Michael Bay, Jessica Alba, Ice Cube, Gerard Butler, Halle Berry, Marlon Wayans, Julia Roberts, M. Night Shyamalan , Katherine Heigl , Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tyler Perry, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Ashton Kutcher, Happy Madison Productions, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Paul W.S. Anderson, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brett Ratner, Rob Cohen, Renee Zellweger, Shia LaBeouf, Renny Harlin, Diane Keaton, McG, Demi Moore, King Joffrey (Game of Thrones Special), David Spade, Spike Lee, Kevin James, Joel Schumacher, Ehren Kruger, Chris Rock, Mark Steven Johnson, Mickey Rourke, Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, Josh Duhamel, Saw Franchise (Halloween Edition), Zach Braff, Sam Worthington, Melissa McCarthy, The Wachowski Siblings, Kate Bosworth, Garry Marshall, David Goyer, Akiva Goldsman, Avi Arad, Damon Lindelof, Hayden Christensen, Dennis Dugan, Sharon Stone, Jessica Biel, Nick Swardson, Simon Kinberg, Alex & Stephen Kendrick, Eli Roth, Paranormal Activity Franchise (Halloween Edition), Kevin Hart

NOT GUILTY Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Nic Cage, John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Wes Craven, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Rodriguez, Kristen Stewart, Roland Emmerich, Kevin Costner, Sandra Bullock, Hilary Swank, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Kevin Smith, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Anna Faris, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Paul Walker, Will Smith, Salma Hayek, Michael Cera, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Milla Jovovich, John Singleton, Jon Voight, Jack Black, Brian De Palma, Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicole Kidman, Justin Timberlake, Freddy Krueger (Halloween Edition), Johnny Knoxville, Orlando Bloom, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Aykroyd, Sylvester Stallone, Gavin Hood, Jason Lee, Jennifer Garner, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack, Chris Columbus, Clive Owen, Terrence Howard, Andrew Niccol, Drew Barrymore, Steve Martin, Joel Silver, Michelle Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Dario Argento, Susan Sarandon, Dennis Quaid, Rob Reiner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mel Gibson, Pierce Brosnan, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, Ivan Reitman, Stephen Sommers, Shawn Levy, Jai Courtney, Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Luc Besson, Jason Reitman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Connelly, Sienna Miller, Ben Barnes, Simon West, Len Wiseman, Brendan Fraser, Megan Fox, Neal McDonough, Cameron Crowe, Katie Holmes, Elijah Wood, Tarsem Singh, Reese Witherspoon, Burt Reynolds, Ed Helms, Sean Astin, Michael Polish, Kelsey Grammer, Queen Latifah, Mark Wahlberg, Vin Diesel, Barry Levinson, Aaron Eckhart, Luke Wilson, Martin Campbell

UPDATES: Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage and Roland Emmerich, Jim Carrey, Robert Rodriguez and Gerard Butler, Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts and The Farrelly Brothers, Ben Stiller, Tim Burton and Shia LaBeouf, Johnny Depp, Kevin Smith & Chris Rock, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson & Vince Vaughn

Extra Tidbit: Who should stand trial next week? Share your suggestions for actors, directors and writers below with your verdict!
Source: JoBlo.com

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9:47AM on 12/15/2015

Not guilty

This column is losing focus if we are judging movie studios now.
This column is losing focus if we are judging movie studios now.
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2:15PM on 12/15/2015
It's not the first one. Happy Madison was also on trial.
It's not the first one. Happy Madison was also on trial.
2:43PM on 12/14/2015

Not guilty

Oculus, Paranormal Activity, The Visit, and The Guest is enough to make them be guilty and locked away forever, but due to the lack of horror films that are even somewhat watchable (besides the 4 above), I say not guilty. Besides, Lords of Salem and Insidious are great, entertaining films, so that gives them a lot of credit.
Oculus, Paranormal Activity, The Visit, and The Guest is enough to make them be guilty and locked away forever, but due to the lack of horror films that are even somewhat watchable (besides the 4 above), I say not guilty. Besides, Lords of Salem and Insidious are great, entertaining films, so that gives them a lot of credit.
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12:10PM on 12/14/2015

Not guilty

Sure, they're cheap, and a lot of their movies are generic crap. But their emphasis on low-budget can force a good director to be inventive in ways I don't often see with better budgeted movies. Their model is not new, either. Consider Roger Corman's studio circa the 1960s-70s, or the Skid Row b-movies that led to classics like the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Great stories can be achieved on small budgets. Now, it doesn't guarantee any sort of quality control, but since Jason Blum
Sure, they're cheap, and a lot of their movies are generic crap. But their emphasis on low-budget can force a good director to be inventive in ways I don't often see with better budgeted movies. Their model is not new, either. Consider Roger Corman's studio circa the 1960s-70s, or the Skid Row b-movies that led to classics like the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Great stories can be achieved on small budgets. Now, it doesn't guarantee any sort of quality control, but since Jason Blum has expanded from doing JUST low-budget found-footage movies (and, in the case of M. Night Shyamalan, found someone who can mae a found-footage movie actually look good), I can't fault them for being budget-minded. If anything, movies on a whole have become more bloated of late. So I'm glad someone's still penny-pinching in the industry.
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+0
10:28AM on 12/14/2015

Not guilty

Sure, the last Paranormal Activity chapters and that J-Lo crap were carbage. But as Long as they make Money with it and are able to produce great Indy Horror like Oculus and 13 Sins I am fine with it. I would choose These Little gems over glossy, big Budget Remakes of TCM or Halloween any time!
Sure, the last Paranormal Activity chapters and that J-Lo crap were carbage. But as Long as they make Money with it and are able to produce great Indy Horror like Oculus and 13 Sins I am fine with it. I would choose These Little gems over glossy, big Budget Remakes of TCM or Halloween any time!
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10:30AM on 12/14/2015
Oculus was terrible
Oculus was terrible
9:47AM on 12/14/2015

Guilty

I am actually going to give some credit to Blumhouse for TRYING to be creative in a stale genre. Horror as a genre is usually pretty low on the totem pole of film making because it is often simplistic. Blumhouse has tried to be both prolific and creative, but it ends up spinning its own wheels with repetitiveness and endless sequels. Paranormal stuff are ghost stories. But you can only watch so much of it. Nobody in the world is going to do a Paranormal Activities or Insidious marathon.
I am actually going to give some credit to Blumhouse for TRYING to be creative in a stale genre. Horror as a genre is usually pretty low on the totem pole of film making because it is often simplistic. Blumhouse has tried to be both prolific and creative, but it ends up spinning its own wheels with repetitiveness and endless sequels. Paranormal stuff are ghost stories. But you can only watch so much of it. Nobody in the world is going to do a Paranormal Activities or Insidious marathon.

I don't want to totally slam them, but they could use a little movie jail time out, to get their act together and develop a better plan going forward. These films all seem to share a similar tone and atmosphere, that is perhaps their trademark. After some time out they should try and develop a true thriller of a psychological nature that has some lasting power. Not a campy franchise with endless sequels, but one that could last them for a decade.
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9:41AM on 12/14/2015
Not guilty. Their movies are either Hit or Miss. However, they do need to make better horror thriller movies with not so much Jump Scares.
Not guilty. Their movies are either Hit or Miss. However, they do need to make better horror thriller movies with not so much Jump Scares.
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9:03AM on 12/14/2015

Guilty

I did like Whiplash but it doesn't look like that director is working with Blumhouse again so I guess well go with guilty. next week: Dustin hoffman.
I did like Whiplash but it doesn't look like that director is working with Blumhouse again so I guess well go with guilty. next week: Dustin hoffman.
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10:08AM on 12/14/2015
Dustin would make for an interesting trial, but I think we should wait to see if KUNG FU PANDA 3 is bad.
Dustin would make for an interesting trial, but I think we should wait to see if KUNG FU PANDA 3 is bad.
8:40AM on 12/14/2015

Guilty

They definitely like to make a movie on a budget and any sort of quality suffers.
They definitely like to make a movie on a budget and any sort of quality suffers.
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+1
8:22AM on 12/14/2015
I dislike more of their movies than I like so guilty.
I dislike more of their movies than I like so guilty.
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+0
7:06AM on 12/14/2015

Career average: 4.2/10

You answered your own question. They ARE more concerned with making money than good movies BECAUSE OF their "buy low/sell high" style. They're pretty much the only ones trying to keep the found footage trendy, but they don't realize that the excess of them is the reason why they've become unpopular. Not all of their movies are bad (WHIPLASH is one of the best movies of all time), but everytime I watch one of their bad ones, I doubt if their good ones are flukes. They're Guilty.

Next week:
You answered your own question. They ARE more concerned with making money than good movies BECAUSE OF their "buy low/sell high" style. They're pretty much the only ones trying to keep the found footage trendy, but they don't realize that the excess of them is the reason why they've become unpopular. Not all of their movies are bad (WHIPLASH is one of the best movies of all time), but everytime I watch one of their bad ones, I doubt if their good ones are flukes. They're Guilty.

Next week: Candice Bergen, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Elisha Cuthbert, Danny DeVito, Matt Dillon, Brad Fuller, Heather Graham, Melanie Griffith, Raja Gosnell, Don Johnson, Angelina Jolie, Jamie Kennedy, Ben Kingsley, Brian Levant, Eugene Levy, Lucy Liu, Robert Luketic, James Marsden, Neal Moritz, Amanda Peet, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Seann William Scott, Barry Sonnenfeld, Barbra Streisand or Patrick Warburton.
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8:23AM on 12/14/2015
Whiplash was a great film, but one of the best of all time is ain't!
Whiplash was a great film, but one of the best of all time is ain't!
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