Exorcist producer was scared ‘to death’ of Taylor Swift box office face-off: ‘We bowed our head’

“The one thing that scares me to death is Taylor Swift!” the Blumhouse founder says after he brought forward the new Exorcist movie’s release date to avoid facing off against the singer’s Eras Tour concert film at the box office.

Producer Jason Blum has enjoyed a wildly successful career scaring audiences with horror franchises like Paranormal Activity and Insidious, as well as the recent trilogy of Halloween films. Last month, however, it was the Blumhouse founder himself who became terrified.
The figure frightening Blum was not some fictional killer or supernatural entity but the very real Taylor Swift, whose decision to release her Eras Tour concert film in mid-October prompted the producer to change the release date of his latest horror movie, The Exorcist: Believer.

“The one thing that scares me to death is Taylor Swift!” Blum jokes with EW in an interview.

The producer had planned to premiere the continuation of the iconic Exorcist franchise on Friday, Oct. 13, a plum date for the release of a horror movie. “We had this amazing Friday the 13th in October, which is the single best day to release a scary movie,” says Blum, who is making a planned trilogy of Exorcist films in partnership with the franchise’s rights-holders Morgan Creek.

Then Taylor Swift surprise announced in August that she would premiere an Eras Tour concert movie on the same date. Blum immediately reacted to the news by writing “#Exorswift” on Twitter in the hopes of creating interest in a Barbenheimer-type phenomenon.

Later that same day, Blum blinked and revealed the Universal-distributed The Exorcist: Believer would be released one week earlier. “Look what you made me do,” Blum wrote at the time. “The Exorcist: Believer moves to 10/6/23 #TaylorWins.”

“Obviously, we moved off that 2024 and we bowed our head to Taylor Swift,” Blum says. “It was too risky to see if ‘Exorswift’ was going to take or not. People will still have the Exorswift opportunity, so maybe we got to have our cake and eat it too.”

Directed by David Gordon Green, The Exorcist: Believer stars young actors Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill as a pair of demonically possessed children, Leslie Odom Jr. as the father of Jewett’s character, and Ann Dowd as a nurse. Most eye-catching for horror fans, the movie finds Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn reprising her role of Chris MacNeil for the first time since Friedkin’s original film.

“I really give David Gordon Green credit for that,” Blum says. “He was able to get Jamie Lee Curtis comfortable [on 2018’s Halloween], and David got Ellen to feel comfortable to join us in this iteration of her iconic movie.”

The Exorcist: Believer will now be released in theaters on Oct. 6. Read more about the film and Jason Blum in EW’s Fall Movie Preview.