Universal and its streaming service Peacock have signed a $400 million deal to release a new Exorcist film trilogy, reports The New York Times. The project will see the return of star Ellen Burtsyn, and Halloween director David Gordon Green will helm the project, with the first installment scheduled to hit theaters in 2023.
Deadline reports that the trilogy will also star Leslie Odom Jr., a father who seeks out Chris MacNeil (Burtsyn) after his child is possessed in the same way that her daughter was in the 1973 film (pictured above). Interestingly, while the first film is intended for a theater release, its two followups might debut on Peacock.
The deal is a huge one, which the Times compares to the deal by Netflix to acquire two sequels to Rian Johnson’s 2019 mystery film Knives Out. It is likely intended to put Peacock on the map as it works to compete with its bigger counterparts, Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+, taking a well-known classic and bringing it back in a big way.
The original 1973 film was based on the novel by William Peter Blatty and directed by William Friedkin, and has gone on to become a major classic in the horror genre: It followed a demonic possession of a girl named Reagan MacNeil (played by Linda Blair), and a Catholic priest that tries to save her with an exorcism. There’s no word on whether or not Blair will also reprise her role.
The film spawned a whole franchise, first with Exorcist II: The Heretic in 1977, The Exorcist III (1990), Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005), as well as The Exorcist TV series that ran for two seasons and served as a direct sequel to the original 1973 film.