philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Blumhouse Plans Film Shoot on Universal Lot Despite Insurance Risks

jason_blumAs Hollywood yearns to get back to work in the COVID-19 era, Universal Pictures and producer Jason Blum are working out a daring plan to shoot a low-budget film on the studio lot. Cast and crew would live in a hotel nearby and a set of safety protocols would be in place. Forget craft services, for example.

Also, forget about insurance that would cover a shutdown due to a coronavirus-related outbreak of illness.

This source adds: "Blumhouse and Universal aren't moving forward with any plans until we get the green light from city, county and public-health officials. None of this preproduction planning work is being conducted on the lot itself. A small team of filmmakers and studio executives are currently working on those plans remotely. Safety of everyone involved is a huge priority, and nobody wants to rush into anything."

If the $6.5 million project goes forward, the source continues, "There will be a lot we'll be able to learn from this when the time comes as we think about starting up other productions."

The challenge is such that the MPA and the Independent Film & Television Alliance — which advocates on behalf of such non-MPA companies as Lionsgate and Millennium Films — are pushing for a federal approach. Insurance broker Kingman likens the current era to post-9/11, when no insurer would write a policy covering terrorism.

But Marshall says one big silver lining to the insurance crisis is that it will force productions to be zealous in enforcing measures to protect cast and crew: "One of the beauties of insurance is it can actually promote good behavior."

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