Get Out, the thriller from first-time director Jordan Peele, premiered in February to great critical acclaim and box office success. Blumhouse founder Jason Blum, who produced the film, joined The Bill Simmons Podcast this week to explain how the makers kept spoilers out of the trailer and how the company is marketing the film to Academy voters.
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
Bill Simmons: Did you feel like the secret of Get Out was kept secret enough? … I thought it was, because I thought the internet was going to fuck things. I remember [The] Blair Witch [Project] 20 years ago. I was in the theater [seeing] Blair Witch and [when] it finished I didn't know if it happened or not. In that era, you could really keep the secret the whole time.
Jason Blum: We had this great moment in the run-up to the movie where we had the [scene of Rose] dangling the keys that was in the trailer. And I thought it should have been in the trailer, and the studio thought it should have been in the trailer. My great marketing partners—Josh [Goldstine] and Michael [Moses]—we were all on the same page. And [movie director] Jordan [Peele] said, "It can't be in the trailer."
Simmons: It gives it away.
Blum: And between Michael, Josh, and I, we've done 300 movies. Jordan has done one. So it's a really tough position to be in, and we tested them together and [we had] about a month of conversations. And finally, Jordan came in and said, "You just can't do it." And Jordan's an incredible talent for a lot of reasons, but that right there is a great example of it. We didn't [put the scene in the trailer] obviously. It was a totally stupid thing to have done. The three of us were wrong and Jordan was right. But to do one movie and get your way, and not piss the three of us off—because he really thought about it and worked on it and just said, "I can't live with this. I just can't live with this."
And there are a lot of studios that would've said, "We don't care!" Another great thing about a low-budget movie is it's harder for a studio to say that. When you're looking at a director who hasn't been paid for the work that he's done—he only gets paid if the movie makes money—and he says, "I can't live with this," you almost kind of morally have to listen to him. I feel that way, and Universal [Studios] felt that way … and he was right. And, you know, it's a tribute to him.
Simmons: Trust creative people. That's one of my mottos. Sean Fennessey, he knows.
Sean Fennessey: Yeah, I'm not one of them though. [Laughing.] So how do you get Jordan an Oscar now? What has to happen?
Blum: Oh boy!
Simmons: Oh, this is another one of my passion points—horror movies and comedies.
Blum: Can you help me with this?
Simmons: How the fuck was There's Something About Mary not nominated for an Oscar?
Blum: I don't know. I don't know.
Simmons: Like seriously, it's the best comedy of that whole decade.
Fennessey: That's your outrage pick?! That's a unique choice!
Blum: I think that's generational because I think it's great too.
Simmons: Awesome, revolutionary comedy.
Blum: It should be in.
Simmons: [Get Out] should be one of the [Oscar nominated] movies. …
Blum: Well, Get Out’s different from a comedy.
Simmons: It's a thriller.
Blum: But it's about race. It's very, very timely, and so … you shouldn't get penalized because a lot of people have seen your movie. Hopefully it'll be recognized. Certainly I want it to be, and certainly I'm trying to get it recognized for sure.
Simmons: I think 10 years ago it probably gets snubbed and everybody gets mad. But now [with] the internet, I think a lot of these people read the pieces and for the most part the right things seem to happen.
Fennessey: My gut tells me there’s a Screenplay nomination coming.
Blum: I hope so. The key is that you just—it’s very hard. So many people say, “I hate horror movies and I never watch them, but I love Get Out.” But there a lot of people in the Academy who just say, “I hate horror movies and I haven’t seen it.” The key is just getting those people to see it. Because it’s really more of a thriller than a horror movie, and once they see it they’re totally into it. But there is a line you’ve got to get people over of being open to seeing [it]—that’s why I always say it’s more like a Hitchcock movie because that’s something that people feel more [open to seeing].
Simmons: I think that should be part of the campaign, that it’s a thriller, not a horror movie. Because it’s not a horror movie. [When] I think horror movie, I think of, like, somebody with an ax killing a bunch of sorority sisters.
Blum: Yeah, yeah, me too.
Simmons: It’s a thriller.
Blum: It’s hard to open a thriller, but I think now it’s being talked about as a thriller for sure.