Inevitable Talk of Paranormal Activity Sequel from Paramount
In its fifth weekend at the box office, surprise indie horror hit Paranormal Activity was able to knock down the reigning Halloween horror champion - the Saw franchise - off its throne to win the weekend before the holiday is officially upon us. Saw VI came in at #2, opening to an estimated $14.8 million while Paranormal Activity took in an estimated $22 million from only 1,945 theaters and pushed it's total gross up to $62.5 million. Not bad for a flick that only cost $11,000 to make. However, the risk of overkill is upon us as the LA Times says Paramount isn't past developing a sequel to the extremely low-budget smash hit.
Paramount Chairman Brad Grey said simply: "We have the rights on a worldwide basis to do Paranormal 2 and we're looking to see if that makes some sense." Looking at the numbers it wouldn't make sense if they weren't thinking about it. The studio acquired the film for just $300,000 and has spent less than $10 million on marketing. Most of the buzz for the film resulted from secret free screenings in major cities and college towns, and the Eventful.com campaign for viewers to demand the movie in their town. To say that Paranormal Activity has become a cultural phenomenon would be an understatement as the film is said to be on track to bring in over $100 million in its box office run, but with Halloween just around the corner and word-of-mouth continually spreading like wildfire, I'd say there's more bank headed Paramount's way.
And of course with success like this, any studio would be looking for more bang for their buck. But it's ridiculously difficult to capture multi-million-dollar-lightning in a bottle twice. The LA Times also points out the blunder that no one should forget when Book of Shadows, the 2000 follow-up to 1999's indie horror phenomenon The Blair Witch Project, was very poorly received and grossed just $26.4 million domestically, compared to $140.6 million for the original." And this is exactly what Paramount needs to avoid should they go into sequel territory with Paranormal Activity.
But despite all signs and numbers pointing to the greenlight for a sequel, I just wish that studios could let a successful motion picture stand on its own as a great piece of cinema and not try to turn it into a cash cow series. The magic that comes from an experience like this can't be duplicated to the fullest potential, and just because audiences were clamoring to see this film once, doesn't mean we want carbon copies of it crowding cinemas for years to come. So, Brad Grey, if you're listening, I implore you to think long and hard about what you've got here, humbly accept your success, and move on, just like they did with Cloverfield in 2008.
The Saw franchise is already on its sixth film, and I wanted to cut off my own foot to stop them back when the third one was greenlit. Don't make me or the audiences regret loving a flick for fear of a terrible sequel!