In one of its first development moves since the end of the writers strike, New Line has hired Blair Butler to write Occupant, the adaptation of a short story by Victor Sweetser.
Zach Cregger, the filmmaker behind the critically adored 2022 horror movie Barbarian, is producing the supernatural thriller with frequent collaborator Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment. Vertigo’s Miri Yoon and Scott Glassgold of Ground Control — the latter specializes in the horror short-story adaptation business — are also producing, as is John Poliquin.
The project was the subject of a heated bidding war in February with New Line, the Warner Bros. division that dominates the studio horror space, winning it with a six-figure outright buy.
New Line is keeping the logline locked in the basement, but the story is a spin on the traditional haunted house tale. In this case, when a mysterious old house is moved to a small town, something sinister arrives with it.
Butler is a former writer and on-air personality for geek-centric shows such as the seminal Attack of the Show who has slowly developed into a name in the genre-writing space. She wrote the vampire thriller The Invitation that starred Nathalie Emmanuel, as well as 2019’s Polaroid and 2018 slasher thriller Hell Fest. She was also a producer on the short-lived, Marvel-based supernatural series Helstrom.
Currently, Butler is adapting the novel Home Before Dark, set to be directed by Patrick Brice, and writing the screenplay for the Mandalay feature Omega, set to be directed by Mortal Kombat’s Simon McQuoid.
New Line currently has The Nun II scaring audiences in theaters. The thriller, part of the company’s $2 billion-generating horror franchise known as the Conjuring universe, has grossed over $233.6 million worldwide since opening in early September.
Butler is repped by Lars Theriot of Industry, Kathleen Remington of CAA and Jonathan Shikora of Lichter Grossman.