This Friday will mark the release of the first addition to the Scary Movie franchise in seven years, as Scary Movie 5 hits theaters with Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and Ashley Tisdale taking the front seats of the theater-themed posters and none of the original writers, producers or cast of Scary Movie onboard. Scary Movie 5's genre rival this year is A Haunted House, the micro-budgeted found-footage horror spoof from writer/actor Marlon Wayans, one of the creators and stars of the original Scary Movie.
Time will tell whether Scary Movie 5 will succeed enough to breathe fresh life into the franchise, or whether it will instead mark the final nail in its coffin, but Wayans' film has already made enough of a profit for Open Road Films to confirm that A Haunted House 2 is already in development and will go into production within a few months.
Wayans commented on the news in the press release:
“Rick [Alvarez] and I are excited about embarking on this journey again. IM Global has been a great, supportive partner and Open Road did a fantastic job marketing and releasing the movie. I’m looking forward to doing it again, mainly because of the fun we had the first time around. ‘Fun’ is the keyword when doing funny. Let’s go (in my @iamdiddy voice)!”
Arguably the most entertaining aspect of A Haunted House was the almost universal panning that it received from critics, with Movies.com describing it as a greater assault on the immune system than a bout of the flu, the Austin Chronicle adding that the experience was, "like watching a snuff film, only it's the audience who's dying inside," and the Village Voice asking, "Does it even qualify as a movie? Why did it take two people to write and cost $2.5 million to make?" Screen Rant's Sandy Schaefer concluded his review by saying that:
"There’s little to no reason to reward or encourage any of the people involved to continue making these kind of off-putting (and instantly disposable) raunch-fests."
A Haunted House's $40 million box office take, which constitutes a sizeable profit for such a low-budget film, was more than enough encouragement for Open Road Films to greenlight the sequel. A Haunted House 2 will be financed and produced by IM Global's genre label, Octane, and IM Global CEO Stuart Ford has praised the micro-budgeted nature of A Haunted House, saying that what it achieved was "tremendous," and adding, "we have every faith that we can now generate a hit sequel together."
From the emphasis that the producers are putting upon the low price-tag of the first film, and its comparative success at the box office, it seems like A Haunted House 2 will be similarly budgeted. With production costs of around $2-3 million, the sequel wouldn't even need to come close to the first film's success in order to make a profit, and Open Road Films seems confident enough with this business model to begin planning what producer Rick Alvarez called "an incredible franchise" of Haunted House movies.
It's a similar model to what is used for the found-footage Paranormal Activity movies - that are the primary target of this film's humor. The latest movie in the franchise, Paranormal Activity 4, was made for a modest $5 million and pulled in a comparatively staggering $14o million worldwide. The ongoing mythology and highly successful formula of the Paranormal Activity films has kept audiences coming back for more with each new release, but it remains to be seen whether Open Road Films will be able to find a similarly sustainable and profitable formula for the rest of their Haunted House parody series.
Did A Haunted House leave you excited for more parody fare from Marlon Wayans, or would you rather see the Scary Movie sequels and clones gone from theaters?
A Haunted House 2 is currently scheduled for release in Winter 2013-2014.
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