The head-spinning question raised by Universal’s $400M deal to make 3 new THE EXORCIST films is, Why aren’t they bringing back Linda Blair?
Everything else makes sense — especially the value of vintage studio IP in the new landscape of streaming competition. The stars of Warner Bros.’ 1973 horror thriller from director William Friedkin (THE FRENCH CONNECTION) included Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow & Blair. Burstyn’s returning for the new episodes, which will play in theatres & stream on Peacock. Von Sydow died in 2020. But Blair’s alive & well, and EXORCIST (pictured) fans will want to see her revisit past horrors.
By losing Blair, Universal/Blumhouse will lose global media coverage that would show Burstyn & Blair — originally mother & pre-teen daughter — reuniting in production nearly 50 years later. It’s the only flaw in an otherwise great idea, but it’s not too late to fix it.
As Universal/Blumhouse know from rebooting John Carpenter’s 1978 HALLOWEEN, bringing horror classics back to life can be a great business. Their 2018 remake with Jamie Lee Curtis returning grossed $255.6M globally & its sequel, HALLOWEEN KILLS, is opening 10/15.