Jason Blum is the guy behind Blumhouse Productions, which produces horror movies like “Paranormal Activity” and “The Purge.” They’re profitable franchises that rely on a straightforward business model: Production costs that don’t exceed $5 million.
That’s why he decided not to go with Scarlett Johansson for one of his films, “The Gift,” he explained at the Code Media conference at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, Calif.
A movie studio was interested in bankrolling the film, but only if they could attach Johansson, who’s rate alone would exceed Blum’s $5 million ceiling. He turned it down.
“It’s very hard as a producer to think, ‘Shit, I got Rebecca Hall for scale, but if I could work with Scarlett Johannson for $8 million this would be great!’ I don’t think that way,” said Blum. “But a lot of people do.”
Blum went on: “There’s a method in Hollywood which is hard to escape from, and it’s largely ego based: If you have a hit, you should make a more expensive movie. It’s so hard to not think that the cool kids spend money, and the less cool kids don’t.”
Watch: Jason Blum discusses Scarlett Johansson
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.