EDITORIALS

Inevitable Talk of Paranormal Activity Sequel from Paramount

by
October 26, 2009
Source: LA Times

Paranormal Activity

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!

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  • Antioch
    Paranormal was the best scary movie I've ever seen... no contest. It proved that you don't need gore to be scary, and in fact, gore makes it less scary. If they make a second, they will most likely blow it because they'll put too many special effects in there. On Saw, I don't know how those movies are still being made (I understand they make bank), but they're all terrible and discusting. The first one was OK, but the rest have been crap.
  • dom
    I also heard they've purposely bought the rights so that they can sit on it.. and remake it with I'm guessing a bigger budget. The film works extremely well as it is so I've heard, so why?! I for one am pissed it never got a proper release - shame on the distributors :( lost money!!
  • Necrothug
    I really don't understand the hype surrounding this movie. I was incredibly let down by this film. It didn't help that the trailer showed all the decent scares. On a side note, looks like someone got the attached screen above from the copy of the DVD floating around with the alternate ending to the film.
  • atg2040
    This movie was terrible! My fiancée hates scary movies, she doesn't even allow me to watch them when she's home. She sat through this movie calling every supposed scare. Me saying this movie was a let down is an extreme understatement.
  • Blue Silver
    ....and here we go with the "Blair Witch 2", route...I sure hope Paramount leaves this sequel idea alone.
  • The reality is you can't make a sequel off a movie like this. But you can bet your ass they're gonna try!
  • ChinChillah
    I Wouldnt Call It The Best Scary......
  • L1A
    Movie sucked, 100 minutes of nothing but 2 people complaining. Not a single moment was scary, laaaame. This and Transformers 2 were the worst 2 movies this year.
  • Stew
    Honestly, this movie sucked.
  • Rob
    This movie was great. The scariest things are those which you don't see.
  • SC
    i agree with Rob
  • movieraider321
    I am so glad I have found a lot of other people who have as much distaste for this movie as I did. It was so terrible. I went in hearing "This is the scarriest movie in 10years" "Freaky and creeyp but fun" I came out with tears in my eyes from laughing so much. I couldn't help it, the terrible acting, the terrible plot and overall terrible feel behind the movie was just well........terrible! I understand how this can be made because Horror is not only the shittiest genre but it also garners a lot of money. People will always go see these movies because they like to feel the adrenaline rush. I'm so glad I did not pay for this movie or else I would be way more pissed off then I am about the whole thing. I think this and Jennifer's Body were the worst films of the year. Both bad horror(don't defend Jen's Body, it stopped being funny and tried to be an actual horror film halfway through, which with Cody's dialogue was just god awful) both with bad acting, and overall terrible story elements. Luckily I saw them both for free and didn't end up losing 20bucks on shitty movies.
  • Tyr
    The movie might have been scary... if it was condensed down to 10 minutes and thrown up on youtube.
  • DCompose
    The horror genre loves franchising shit. The first Saw was great. So was the first Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street and Chucky.
  • nick
    I love when people hate on great movies because everyone else likes them this is why critics and wannabee critics piss me off it was a great movie but please dont make a sequel please
  • Hattori Hanzo
    This was like Blair Witch, once you've seen it, you've seen it and after you do, you feel that it was way overhyped. Nice little movie but when it comes to a sequel it'll be like Blair Wicth 2: "Been there, done that, moving on ... "
  • Vic
    The movie is scary, period. How can you lay there at night in bed and not be reminded about this experience. I guess some people don't get the fright- good for you.
  • bunny
    First off, I want to comment on movieraider's (#12) comment on how horror is the "shittiest genre." I believe that the horror genre is the hardest genre in which to make a good movie. Comedy and action can be pretty easy considering all you do is have to do stupid stuff to make people laugh, and people laugh at really stupid crap, or blow stuff up. I'd say 98% of horror movies are crap, and I'm a huge fan of the genre. I thought Paranormal Activity was awesome... definitely one of the best horror movies of all-time. I didn't find it scary per se, but it definitely gave me the chills and goosebumps. As for laughing at most of the movie, yes I could see that because the characters were placed in a situation most people will never experience--having a demon stalk you. So of course what they do is going to seem absurd and ridiculous. Oh and it was made for $11,000. That's superb filmmaking right there. It just goes to show that the bigger the budget, doesn't mean the better the movie. As the saying goes, "less is more."
  • tra la la la la di da
    Wasn't that scary. it was decent and obviously cheaply made. I hated Blair Witch as well so...still, Ethan has learned to write it seems although this is kind of obvious, Blair Witch was cheap and successful and the sequel stunk. It had nothing to do with the original and was filmed differently. Would they dot he same for this? Is their a sequel? No, just like Blair Witch so why bother? Because right now sequels, reboots, and remakes are the "in" thing and they need money. Better than Saw? Duh! It's fresh! Saw is being made for fans, not people just getting into it the franchise. Still...boring but expected news. I'm looking for the update that says they won't...please!!!
  • CSGabriel
    @18: One of the best horror movies of all time....really?! REALLY? I have to agree with #12 here. This and Jennifer's body are the two worst movies of the year. I just don't understand how seeing a shadow move on the wall, the sheets rise, a door slamming shut (when you knew it was going to happen) can scare people. I guess watching a scene going wait for it, wait for it..there it is! Kinda takes out all the scare of the scene.
  • teyhtr
    The only reason why Blair Witch 2 failed was because the filmmakers behind the first weren't involved in the 2nd. Not only that, it was filmed as a hollywood style movie.
  • The Thing
    Whoever hates this film probably saw Saw 6 and liked it.
  • DoomCanoe
    worst movie of the year. i still complain about wanting my money back daily.
  • PleaseGodNO
    Please god NO! This movie was horrendously bad, shamefully bad. I fancy myself a fan of any and all scary movies and can see the value in pretty much any scary movie as long as it does indeed have something about that is genuinely scary. This movie? Not. a. one. The audience constantly has to endure the loooong stretches of bad acting in between the "paranormal activity" and when that activity DOES occur its embarrassingly stupid. Wind? Really? OMG! Loud noises/footsteps?!? REALLY? I suppose the best way to sum up this movies success and so called "quality" is with the old, "really?! REALLY? Thats what your going with?" ugh. The American public never passes up an opportunity to consume pure garbage and call it steak.
  • Ryan
    And this is why people you don't get caught up in the hype. For me I enjoyed the movie, but i think its only worth watching once. I tried to watch it the second time and the scare sorta just disappeared.
  • branden
    The only people that didn't like it were the ones that listened to their friends over hype it. Everyone said it was SO scary and went into thinking it had to be the scariest movie ever. A couple of my friends said, "Just go see it." So, I had little to no expectations, went at midnight, and it scared the shiznit outta me. This was one of the smartest and creative ways to market a movie this century. Only 1 showing in the entire city of Houston, late at night, packed crowd that didn't know what was gonna happen. Once they opened the floodgates and everyone saw it whenever they wanted, all the naysayers, like the idiots that think they know everything about movies on thsi site, got to critique it.
  • krztov
    i think they could easily do a sequel with what they left out of this one *spoiler warning* they seemed like they were going to show more info of the girl they found online then they just changed the subject pretty much, i wish they went more into that honestly, wouldve given more story to the movie other than 45 minutes of silence 15 minutes of joking around (standby light!) and 20 minutes of scary bits.
  • Sean
    Who didn't see this coming? Seriously now. There's no need for a sequel, Paramount let it be without downsizing it's rep with a stupid second installment, please...Thanks
  • Incredible how the inspiration and originality has left Hollywood during the past few years. I saw this movie yesterday and it is utter garbage. To even consider a sequel on this makes me really wonder if I'm pursueing the correct hobby...
  • thejugfather
    wouldn't ever call this one of the scariest of all time or even the year BUT it was a genuinely creepy film to those who hated it well sorry but don't believe all the hype that surrounds little films like this one blair witch was in the same vein of movie. creepy first person movie on a low budget that gve even me the creeps at times but scary as all hell, NO. sequel? no but sadly it will happen if done right by someone OUTSIDE of hollywood with even an ounce of foresight and creativity it might be pulled off, but a big budget film will FAIL and do so miserably. @#27 i agree they should have tackled more of that girl and i thought they were or maybe even go into some of the main chick's childhood......sequel material, maybe but then who listens to me anyway.
  • Victor
    This movie works more on a psychological level than a visual level. The director appeals to the spectator's mind and gets you involved on the feelings of both Katie and Micah. When you see this movie try not to over think it, get involved in it and I assure you you'll love it. I think this movie is brilliant and scary as hell and it should be left alone please don't ruin it with a sequel.
  • nem
    This movie was pathetic, a story that went no where, too much talk, no scare factor, I found myself laughing at most of the scenes, a beyond-cheesy ending--yeah who could've seen the demon girl come straight to the camera--the fuck is wrong with you people, "best horror flick of all time" your balls drop off or something? Hmm?
  • Antioch
    All you people who say it wasn't scary... what do you think is scary then? Michael Meyers chasing some dumb girl around and then stabbing her in the face? Or serial killers in clown masks? Maybe sitting is suspense as to how a person is going to be mutilated with a device no one but a mechanical engineer could create? The reason this movie worked and was so scary is that feels real. Whether you believe in ****SPOILER**** demons or not, you have to appreciate the fact that most people who watch this movie were at least creeped out without Hollywood having to blow it to hell with special effects. Oh, and don't forget that the movie was really well put together from a production standpoint and suspense built throughout the film like a scary movie should. Enjoy Saw 6 - I'm gonna spend my money on quality movies like this one
  • Antioch
    Oh, and at 65 million so far far at the box office - all you haters are in the minority
  • Chris
    This movie was awful! I laughed the entire time. The fat chick yelling Meeeeee-Kah every two seconds was hysterical. Was this supposed to be a comedy?
  • coto
    wow I could of funded this movie with interest of course. :(
  • ejedj
    Personally, I found this movie to be boring and without a shred of originality. I know some people will enjoy this and get some kind of genuine fright out of it, but the idiots that attack anybody that didn't like it need to keep their mouths shut. It's hysterical when the only critique they can offer relies on them saying "Well, if you didn't like it, you probably enjoy Saw, Halloween or some other typical Hollywood horror trash." I mean really, is that the best you can come up with? It makes you look naive and ignorant. If you honestly want to see movies that have great suspense and escalating tension, you should watch movies like Session 9 or Haute Tension, otherwise you come off as credulous.
  • ejedj
    Oh, and pulling box office figures doesn't prove your point. Sorry.
  • Antioch
    wasn't meant to prove my point, as stated my first comment, was meant to show that a lot of people have gone to see it through word of mouth- read.
  • Antioch
    Oh, and I didn't say: "Well, if you didn't like it, you probably enjoy Saw, Halloween or some other typical Hollywood horror trash." So don't put me in quotes, douche. I was just asking a question: What do people think is scary, then, if not stuff like this?
  • David Banner
    "The studio acquired the film for just $300,000"....um...what does this mean for the filmmakers? They made it for $11K, sold it for $300K-and thats all the money they are making off it?? What % would the filmmakers of PA get, if any? Worth noting, BWP grossed more then $250mill worldwide, not counting Homevideo and cable.
  • Madnezz344
    dont do a sequel make a new movie this movie was bad enough as it is
  • SuicidalOptimist
    This movie freaked me out beyond belief. Not while I was watching, but later when I was sitting alone in my apartment. I have seen a shit ton of horror movies, some of them were pretty fucked up, but never have I been unable to fall asleep. What made this movie work for me, was that it seemed real. The hand-held cameras, no musical score, no cheap scares like a cat jumping out of a corner and so on. Yes, that's a lot like BWP, but even tho that movie was kinda creepy too, it was easier to detach yourself from it, because the protagonist set out to investigate a haunted forest, where a witch crafts freaky stickmen in her past-time. Seriously, who in their right mind would do that? So, it was a good scary movie, but you could always say "Psh, it happened in that forest, I am safe here." PA took place in a couple's house, in the safety of their own home, and primarily in their bedroom, which is suppose to be a place of rest and relaxation. And that is what made it so scary for me; the thought of not being safe anywhere, at any time. Locked doors and windows don't mean shit. They have to deal with an invisible, evil force, and they are completely and utterly helpless. Call me a pansy, but this movie really fucked with my head. >.<
  • jvj the Agnostic
    Suicidaloptimist, I must agree! I am a grown man but yet when I came home that night after seeing this movie I was turning on all the lights like a lil bitch! It did make you think about what can happen. I know I was creeped out! I have seen both versions, still dont know which one I like better. I hear that a #rd version is out there somewhere, Does anyone know about that?
  • esophus
    THE SHARK HAS BEEN JUMPED!!!!
  • janeorim
    I have to say, after fucking over 10 fucking years of such bullshit ass horror movies. This one delivered flat out! Even at it's worst, it made most horror flicks look stupid. Most horror movies look pretty and slick, not scary. This was scary. Also the lead actress wasn't a fucking "fat chick" Maybe you just like boyish looking flat chested women?
  • ejedj
    @Antioch What you said was that all haters were in the minority. Box office numbers don't mandate that every person who saw this movie enjoyed it. It means simply that the hype and marketing built up around the release was extremely high. "Oh, and I didn't say: "Well, if you didn't like it, you probably enjoy Saw, Halloween or some other typical Hollywood horror trash." So don't put me in quotes, douche. I was just asking a question: What do people think is scary, then, if not stuff like this?" That quote wasn't meant to be a literal translation of what you said. It's a generalization that described you saying things like "Enjoy Saw 6 - I'm gonna spend my money on quality movies like this one." My apologies if I came off as anything other than civil; I'm trying not to be a douche as you so eloquently stated. However, it pisses me off to no end when people automatically assume that just because someone didn't like their favorite horror movie, it must mean that they have awful taste. I didn't like the Saw franchise, Hostel or any other form of torture porn, so your assumption that I would have bad taste would be completely false. As well, movies like Session 9, Jacob's Ladder, The Changeling and Haute Tension contain psychological elements that this abortion of cinema never had.
  • Movieraider321
    Think of it this way everyone. People find this scary are the same people who found Blair Witch scary. The reason? Because with the way it's shot and the way it's marketing went about people thought this was a true story. You would not believe how many people went out of the theater saying "jesus I hope they find her soon" or "where do you think she could be" It is just beyond comprehension that people actually thought it was legit. I get how this could be scary, I understand those with lower intelligence and think that the first Saw(which is a thriller, not a horror) is a scary movie. You just have to understand that this movie is going to get acclaim for being 1) cheap 2) somewhat scary to a certain audience 3) easy to make 4) it's marketing. I really despised movie, it didn't have to do with the actors not being the conventional looking actors it was just that the acting was god awful. I will wait until a great horror film is made again, the best horror gets in your head, this kind of stuff is just cheap scares. 1/10, 1 because me and a bunch of my friends got a good laugh out of it.
  • janeorim
    The only way a sequel could work is if it's done with another small budget, with the same director and the same tone.
  • austin
    its an ok cheap scary movie, better than the blair witch, still lacking though, and did anyone else think that it was kind of funny, and oh yeah, that is the alternate ending in the photo above than what got seen in theatres, i saw the dvd ending that was different and i think that would have been a better real ending than that bs end with the lady being a frickin demon, who didnt see that one coming a mile away. its pretty fun to see with a bunch of people though, maybe thats what makes the movie better, being scarred with a bunch of people. but i have to say it was damn good for only being 11 grand to make.
  • Antioch
    @ ejedj Well put. I didn't mean to sound like a jerk either, sorry. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this. Scary is based on personal feelings and sensibilities, so I understand how someone would think PA wasn't scary. I believe in demons and all that so it creeped me out in that way. Plus, my floor makes the same sounds that there's did in the movie :) Good debate.
  • ejedj
    No worries. The last thing I wanted was to turn this into a flame war. I can understand how someone could be genuinely creeped out by this movie, however it didn't affect me that way. Different strokes for different folks as they say. :)
  • Jimbone
    I was so pissed off when i saw this movie, it was NOT scary, NOT thrilling, NOT even remotely creepy, i just cannot understand where the hell everyone is coming from when they say this movie is amazing. Fuck it.

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