Universal Buys New Exorcist Trilogy for $400 Million, Ellen Burstyn to Return

She will reprise her iconic role as Chris MacNeil much like Jamie Lee Curtis did Laurie Strode in the 2018 film Halloween

The Exorcist, photo by Warner Bros.
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Blumhouse and David Gordon Green have spent the past year quietly working on a new movie in The Exorcist universe. Now, it’s been revealed that the two are planning to create a full-fledged trilogy — and Universal has just purchased the rights to it for a whopping $400 million.

According to The New York Times, Universal Pictures and its streaming service Peacock “have closed a $400 million-plus megadeal to buy a new Exorcist trilogy.” Morgan Creek Entertainment had held the rights to The Exorcist franchise, and will remain involved as producers alongside Universal, Green, and Blumhouse’s Jason Blum.

Most exciting of all, though, is news that the franchise’s original star, Ellen Burstyn, will return for this new trilogy. She will reprise her role as Chris MacNeil and star alongside Leslie Odom Jr., who will play “the father of a possessed child” who “tracks down” Burstyn’s character for help.

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“The first film in the trilogy is expected to arrive in theaters in late 2023. Under the terms of the deal, the second and third films could debut on Peacock, according to one of the people briefed on the matter,” writes The Times.

Update — August 4th: Deadline reports that the first film will be released on Friday the 13th of October, 2023.

As previously reported, this new trilogy will serve as a direct sequel to William Friedkin’s original 1973 horror blockbuster. Green will write and direct the upcoming movies. He plans on modeling The Exorcist trilogy after his Halloween trilogy: 2018’s smash hit Halloween, the upcoming 2021 feature Halloween Kills, and the subsequent Halloween Ends in 2022.

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The Exorcist is as iconic as it gets when it comes to game-changing movies, especially within the horror genre. So back in 2015, it was a huge relief when Morgan Creek promised that they “would NEVER EVER attempt to remake The Exorcist.” Perhaps handing the reigns over to Blumhouse and Green years later is their way of technically honoring their word while still giving nostalgia-hungry fans something to look forward to? Only time will tell.

Regardless, Blum and Green already sound like they not only know what they’re doing, but they’re certain it will exceed expectations, too. “I think it’s going to pleasantly surprise all the skeptics out there. We had a lot of skeptics about Halloween and David turned them around, and I think he’s going to turn it around with The Exorcist,” Blum previously said. “I want to make a movie for people that know and love the first Exorcist and are furious that we’re doing this, but somehow drag themselves to the theater.I want them to come out happy. And I want to make a movie that people who’ve never heard of The Exorcist really enjoy.”

Categories: Film, News