Universal is set to pay $400m for the rights to a new trilogy continuing the story of The Exorcist.
The new films will see original star Ellen Burstyn reprise her Oscar-nominated role of Chris MacNeil alongside Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr as a father tracking her down when his daughter is possessed.
The first film will be released in cinemas in October 2023, with subsequent films possibly going straight to Universal’s US streaming service Peacock. The franchise will be ushered in by David Gordon Green, who directed the new Halloween trilogy starring Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role of Laurie Strode. Halloween made over $255m in 2018 and its follow-up Halloween Kills will be released later this year after premiering at the Venice film festival.
Rather than reboot or a remake, the new films are described as “a compelling continuation” of the 1973 original which made over $440m at the box office and won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.
Previous sequels and prequels have failed to win over either audiences or critics and will be ignored in the “direct” sequel. There was also a television sequel in 2016, which ran for two seasons starring Geena Davis.
The news follows on from Netflix’s $450m deal to retain the rights for the next two Knives Out films as competition between streamers heats up. Next year will also see a similar relaunch of the Scream franchise from Paramount.
Burstyn recently won acclaim for her role in the grief drama Pieces of a Woman and will next be seen in the Showtime series The First Lady as Sara Delano Roosevelt alongside Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gillian Anderson and Kiefer Sutherland.
Odom Jr was recently nominated for an Oscar for playing Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami and will next be seen in the Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark and Knives Out 2.