The original Exorcist trilogy is getting a spooky expansion. Paste can confirm that Universal and Peacock have bought the rights to the iconic horror franchise in order to create new spooky entries in partnership with Blumhouse.
As for how much that actually cost them, The New York Times reports that it was over $400 million—a high price tag due to the increasing competitiveness of the marketplace now under the shadow of streaming giants. Regardless, the news comes hot off the heels of an initial reveal just a few days ago, which confirmed that David Gordon Green’s Exorcist would be a direct sequel to the original 1973 film. Green was quoted as even flirting with the idea that the sequel would be tied to all three original films—though, as of now, the new trilogy will only be attached to the first film. It had been announced late last year that 2018’s Halloween director would be helming a new Exorcist movie at all.
Green will be directing the first film, which will be released theatrically on October 13, 2023. The following two sequels could potentially only release on Peacock, though Blumhouse founder Jason Blum notes the commitment of Universal to “theatrical exhibition” in a statement.
Hamilton and One Night in Miami star Leslie Odom Jr. has been picked to lead the first movie, while Ellen Burstyn is set to reprise her role as Chris MacNeil, the mom of possessed daughter Regan The plot is said to center on a father, played by Odom, whose daughter becomes possessed—so he tracks MacNeil down to enlist her help.
The screenplay is being written by Green and Peter Sattler, from a story by Green alongside Halloween and Halloween Kills co-writers Scott Teems and Danny McBride. David Robinson and James Robinson are producing for Morgan Creek.
Meanwhile, Green’s Halloween Kills is headed to the 2021 Venice International Film Festival and is hitting theaters on October 15, while the third and final film in his trilogy is scheduled to be released October 14, 2022. Since Green has already demonstrated success in adapting an original horror film into a direct sequel series, Universal and Peacock have placed a safe bet on him helming the new Exorcist.