Universal is sticking with their plan to make a trilogy of Exorcist sequels, but they might be reworked after Believer’s poor reception
An Exorcist sequel being poorly received isn’t anything new. Aside from the original film and The Exorcist III, these are not very popular films, with Exorcist II: The Heretic often coming up as one of the worst sequels ever made. (You can see our ranking of the Exorcist movies HERE.) So the fact that the newly released The Exorcist: Believer (our review can be read at THIS LINK) isn’t going over well with critics or the general audience isn’t much of a surprise. It is, however, a disappointment for Universal Pictures, since they and the Peacock streaming service forked over an amount somewhere in the range of $400 million to acquire the rights to distribute a new trilogy of Exorcist sequels from Blumhouse Productions and director David Gordon Green, a team the studio and streamer had just worked with on a trilogy of Halloween sequels. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal will still be moving forward with the planned follow-ups to The Exorcist: Believer, hoping to make some of their money back… but the sequels might be reworked on their way to production.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that The Exorcist: Believer was originally tracking to pull in 30 to 35 million at the domestic box office over its opening weekend, but the final count ended up being $26.5 million. “Overseas, Believer opened to $17.6 million from its first 52 markets for a soft global start of $44.2 million.” At least that covers the $30 million budget.
David Herrin, the founder of the tracking and research firm The Quorum, said, “Even if it had opened to $35 million — as tracking from last week suggested — that would have been a disappointment. Bringing back beloved IP doesn’t mean you will match the heights of these statistical anomalies [like Blumhouse’s 2018 Halloween reboot, which opened to a stunning $76.2 million]. You’re setting yourself up for failure.“
Thankfully, Universal doesn’t have to just count on box office numbers to make their $400 million back. The Peacock streaming numbers and the money made through the tie-in haunted house that’s part of the Halloween Horror Nights event at their theme parks will also help.
As of right now, The Hollywood Reporter is being told that “Universal remains firmly possessed by its new IP — two more Exorcist films will still be made. But sources say Believer’s reception will almost certainly demand some degree of creative re-think for the next two films. The first sequel is supposed to be called The Exorcist: Deceiver, which was announced for 2025 and has a completed script. Director Green was likewise expected to return, but he recently expressed some doubt about his participation.“
Green recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “My intention is just to start making things, and as those plans come together, if I find myself in that [The Exorcist: Deceiver] director’s chair, I’d be thrilled… But right now, I’m navigating it from a story perspective and looking at my realities of life as I pivot. One of the things that’s been really great between these horror franchises is doing that comedy series on HBO, The Righteous Gemstones. So it’s fun to be able to step away, take a deep breath, have a big laugh, and then get back to work in the genre.”
Film insider Jeff Sneider did say months ago that he heard Green was starting to feel franchise fatigue after making three Halloweens and an Exorcist sequel in a row, so it’s not hard to imagine that the back-to-back poor reception of Halloween Ends and The Exorcist: Believer could convince him to step away from horror sequels for a while. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
Universal is planning to get The Exorcist: Deceiver into theatres on April 18, 2025.
How do you think Universal, Blumhouse, and David Gordon Green should handle the future of the Exorcist franchise? Share your thoughts on this one by leaving a comment below.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/the-exorcist-reworked/