Blumhouse Names Universal’s Abhijay Prakash as President
Indian-American 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 (UFEG), 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.
“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 magazine. “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.”
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.”
Incidentally, in the two weeks that Abhijay Prakash has joined film and television production company, Blumhouse, as president, the genre company founded by Jason Blum has won American Cinematheque’s ‘Power of Cinema Award,” and has a film premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York later this month.
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).
As the president of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Prakash was responsible “for driving the studio’s strategic and long-range planning, also overseeing the business operations of UFEG including finance, business development and administrative functions.” as reported by Variety.
Before UFEG, Prakash served as the chief operating officer for DreamWorks Animation, overseeing the studio’s strategic planning and primary business operations including finance, business development, technology and administrative functions, while working closely with other Universal leaders on release planning, franchise management and brand development.
He was earlier COO for Focus Features, and also served as executive vice president, Film Strategy and Operations for Universal Pictures.
Before that, he served as Executive Vice President, Film Strategy & Operations at Universal, overseeing a team responsible for key strategic initiatives while also supporting operations related to studio slate planning, greenlighting, marketing optimization and film financing across the studio’s various product lines. Prior to Universal, he worked at the Boston Consulting Group and also held other positions in media and worked as a public policy researcher.