Abhijay Prakash has been named president of Blumhouse, the genre juggernaut founded by Jason Blum over twenty years ago.
Prakash joins the company from the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, where he served as president under chairman Donna Langley for nearly four years. He will oversee all business aspects at Blumhouse, succeeding veteran executive Charles Layton.
Layton has been named vice chairman at the company, and will serve in an advisory role through at least 2024.
“From my vantage point at Universal over the years, it was clear that nobody else in the business was as adept at figuring out how to create value from content as the Blumhouse team,” Prakash told Variety. “I’m thrilled to make the leap to join this entrepreneurial team in helping further build this beloved, global brand, and leveraging the company’s strengths and unique business approach to access all the emerging opportunities in the film and television space. I’m also very grateful to Donna Langley, Jeff Shell and the Universal team, who have been so supportive of me throughout my career and I look forward to our continued collaboration.”
At UFEG, Prakash was responsible for driving the studio’s strategic and long-range planning, while also overseeing finance, business development and administrative functions. Before that, he was chief operating officer for DreamWorks Animation, working with leadership on release planning, franchise management, and brand development. Prior to that, he served in the same position at Focus Features.
Blumhouse has grossed over $5 billion in global box office in its lifetime, and entered into a 10-year production pact with Universal Pictures in 2014. Upcoming theatrical releases include “The Black Phone” from director Scott Derrickson, Jamie Lee Curtis’ swan song as Laurie Strode in “Halloween Ends,” and BJ Novak’s directorial debut “Vengeance.” On the TV side, they recently produced Renee Zellweger’s “The Thing About Pam” and the Netflix doc “Our Father.”
Blum told Variety he was “incredibly lucky to work with Abhijay. He’s one of the most astute, forward-thinking business leaders we’ve had the good fortune to partner with, and I’m thrilled that he’s joining Blumhouse and will help lead the company into its next phase of expansion.”
Layton said he and Blum have been discussing his successor for years, and “felt like the stars aligned for Abhijay to join us at a time when I was ready to pull back from the day to day and yet remain active, part-time as vice chairman.”
Blum credited Layton as “the only person to believe enough in me to offer a first look deal. It was that deal that financed our first few attempts and generated both the ‘Insidious’ and ‘Sinister’ franchises. Charles worked with me to actually design the model,” he said.
Prakash’s resume includes stints at the Boston Consulting Group, IGN Entertainment and Artisan Entertainment. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University (plus, a masters in film from Northwestern University).
Layton has been a senior executive in the movie industry for over 30 years, notably as president of Alliance Films and executive vice president of Miramax. He has a BFA in film and an MBA in Finance, both from New York University.
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