This is news that is sure to elicit more sarcasm than hope. Paranormal Activity 4 has secured a writer in the form of Zack Estrin, who is currently a writer/executive producer on ABC's found-footage supernatural series, The River; a show that is not-so-coincidentally co-executive produced by Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum and franchise creator Oren Peli.
Hearing the words The River and Paranormal Activity in the same sentence may make a lot moviegoers cringe. The River is an underperformer (hovering in the 4 - 5 million viewers a week range), and although the Paranormal Activity movies are popular (Paranormal Activity 3 has snagged $205 million worldwide on a $5 million budget) there is an increasing crowd that is very vocal about their disdain for the franchise.
On the other hand, given the vague and abrupt ending of Paranormal Activity 3, maybe having a different writer take a crack at the script isn't such a bad thing. Especially one who is familiar with working in the found-footage sub-genre.
Estrin's experience as a screenwriter is mostly small screen work - with notable titles like Charmed, Tru Calling, Prison Break, and No Ordinary Family, in addition to the The River. He's also been a producer on those same series (with the exception of No Ordinary Family), so he's not exactly green when it comes to both crafting a story and understanding the larger idea of what it takes to make a project successful.
Paranormal Activity 4 has some serious explaining to do, given where the last chapter left things. We still don't know if part 4 will be set just after the events or part 3, or will move forward in time to chronicle the aftermath of part 2 - who will be in it (any returning faces), etc...
Last we heard, the studio was in talks with PA3 directors Henry Joost and Ari Schulman; should the pair sign on for another go, it would at least hint that the yet-to-be-seen time between Katie and Kristi's younger and teenage years could be the focus of this upcoming chapter.
Paranormal Activity 4 will be in theaters on October 19, 2012.