M. Night Shyamalan's last feature film put the director at the helm of a $130 million epic set in a computer-generated future world called "After Earth."
For his follow-up, "The Visit," he told a horror story that takes place at a farmhouse and cost about $5 million to produce.
While "After Earth" earned just $60.5 million at the U.S. box office and about $244 million around the world, "The Visit" earned back its production budget about five times over when it opened this weekend to $25.7 million in North America.
Shyamalan is the latest—and highest-profile—director to team up with producer Jason Blum, who has made a name for himself with micro-budget horror and suspense films that turn fantastic profits. The partnership is just one more sign that the Blumhouse Productions small-budget model is gaining traction, even as many studios make big bets on franchise films.
Another sign: Blumhouse signed a 10-year deal with Universal Studios last year that gives it first crack at distributing its films.
"A lot of what you see is because we don't have a lot of money to make the movies, but because of that, certain aspects of the storytelling in our movies improves," he told CNBC in a recent interview. "It pushes directors to really focus on story and performance and character."