Friday, June 14, 2024

Most Profitable Movie of the Year So Far? Horror Film “Ma” Unlikely Hit from People Who Made “The Help”


The smartest person in the movie business right now besides horror master producer Jason Blum is probably Oscar winner Octavia Spencer. She got her Oscar for “The Help,” a sensitive film about race set in the early 60s South, and never looked back.

Now Spencer and Blum are connected through their movie, “Ma,” a $5 million Blumhouse special directed by “The Help” director Tate Taylor and starring Spencer. Yes, the same Octavia Spencer from other sensitive movies like “Fruitvale Station” and “Hidden Figures.”

“Ma,” which I know, dear reader, you haven’t seen, has made $45 million at the US box office and another $13 million internationally. That’s $58 million on a $5 million budget. And it’s not over. “Ma” is still out there making money. Then it will be a big hit on DVD, streaming, and so on.

Blum has made a fortune with smart horror films like “Ma,” all of which cost $5 million apiece. Plus he produced Jordan Peele’s breakout hit, “Get Out,” which combined horror with social satire to make a potent mix.

Spencer not only stars as “Ma,” she’s an executive producer. She was also an executive producer on this year’s Oscar winner, “Green Book.” Next year she stars in Robert Zemeckis’s “The Witches,” produced by the dynamic duo of Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro.

Clearly, she and her team know what they’re doing. What a great story. Before “The Help” came out in 2011, Spencer had spent about 15 years working doggedly, mostly in television, in small roles. This is quite an achievement! And PS, Octavia Spencer couldn’t be nicer.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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