Although the majority of Blumhouse Productions’ cinematic output are original offerings, in recent years, the production company has left its stamp on a few previously established horror properties, such as Halloween and The Invisible Man. Now we can add The Exorcist to the list, as Blumhouse is teaming with Morgan Creek to deliver a new trilogy of Exorcist movies that are going to streaming, and one of the stars of the original movie is involved.
David Gordon Green, who directed Blumhouse’s 2018 Halloween movie and has resumed those duties for its two forthcoming sequels, has signed on to helm the first of these three new Exorcist movies. The trilogy is being spearheaded by Universal Pictures and Peacock, with the movies being made available on the latter streaming service, although audiences will still have the option to watch these flicks in theaters. Ellen Burstyn will reprise her Academy Ward-nominated role of Chris MacNeil, and she’ll be joined by Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr., who is playing the father of a possessed child who tracks down Chris for help, per The New York Times. Along with his directorial duties, Green hashed out the story with Scott Teems and Danny McBride, and is co-writing the script with Peter Sattler.
In case Ellen Burstyn’s involvement didn’t make it clear enough, these new Exorcist movies will be a “continuation” of the events of the 1973 original, which was directed by William Friedkin, made over $441 million worldwide and won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, along with nominations in nine other categories (including Burstyn’s Best Actress nod). This is the same approach that 2018’s Halloween took, i.e. building off what unfolded in the first installment, but ignoring all subsequent sequels. Beyond that, no plot details about any of these upcoming Exorcist movies have been revealed, though the first movie will arrive on October 13, 2023.
If you’ve made it this far and aren’t familiar with the Exorcist franchise, The Exorcist (which was based on the 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty, who wrote the film’s screenplay) followed 12-year-old Regan, played Linda Blair, who is possessed by a demon, forcing her mother, Ellen Burstyn’s Chris, to turn to two Catholic priests, Jason Miller’s Father Damien Karras and Max von Sydow’s Father Lankester Merrin, to help rescue her daughter through an exorcism. Two sequels followed in 1977 and 1990, followed by the prequels Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist in 2004 and 2005, respectively, with the former being a retooled version of the latter. There was also an Exorcist TV series that aired on Fox from 2016 to 2017.
According to The New York Times, Universal and Peacock’s deal for this Exorcist trilogy was “in the vicinity” of the $465 million Netflix shelled out for the next two Knives Out sequels. It was also reported that the latter two of the new Exorcist movies could premiere on Peacock, although that hasn’t been confirmed. Regardless, clearly Universal and Peacock are going all-in on the Exorcist franchise, and considering how the sequels/prequels to the original ranged from underwhelming to mediocre, this is definitely a film series that could benefit from a revitalization.