If you've been active around here in the last six months, you'll probably remember the huge buzz and eventual success of what is now the most profitable indie movie of all time, Paranormal Activity. Oren Peli's simple, no frills ghost story creeped enough audiences out to push past the $150 million mark at the box office, on a minuscule movie budget of $15,000. Now I know there were many who thought the movie wasn't scary at all, but personally, it creeped me the hell out and I write for a movie news site so imagine how hard it was for me NOT to let the hype affect me!
A couple of months ago we heard word that Paramount is planning Paranormal Activity 2, when Viacom (the company that owns paramount) CEO Philippe Dauman brought it up at an earnings meeting. He acknowledged that the element of surprise will be gone for a sequel but that, "Our team will come up with the right creative and marketing approach to make sure that we benefit from a sequel…"
Now it appears that at least part of that team has been assembled: According to Heat Vision Blog, Paramount has acquired Saw VI director, Kevin Greutert, to helm Paranormal Activity 2. Boy, talk about switching directions... They've also brought on board Law & Order: Special Victim Unit writer/producer Michael R. Perry to handle the script. Plot details and even the official title are being kept under wraps for the time being.
Not only has a director and writer been found for the (necessary? unnecessary?) sequel, but the studio is also eying a date for release: October 22nd, 2010. That means just like the first film, it will be going head-to-head with another Saw sequel (Saw VII in 3D).
So, the Saw VI director is helming Paranormal Activity 2 to take on Saw VII (3D) at the box office? It's so ironic I almost want to torture somebody! :P
Saw vs. Paranormal Activity - let the battle begin!
For those of you experiencing deja vu, that may be because this is a similar situation to what happened with The Blair Witch Project (which is probably PA's closest movie cousin) and its dreadful sequel, Book of Shadows. The first one was a massive hit (FYI, it cost $60,000 to make and had a worldwide gross of almost $250 million!) but then they gave the sequel to a new director, slapped a much bigger budget on it and what happened? The movie didn't make anywhere near as much, raking in only $48 million worldwide (and that was probably just because of the name recognition).
Last month we reported on the fact that Paramount launched an initiative to spend $1 million a year on microbudget films that cost $100,000 or less. They're plan is obviously to replicate the success that Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project had. Paramount is already releasing PA director Oren Peli's next film, Area 51. I just wonder whether the budget will be kept small on Paranormal Activity 2 or whether they'll throw a bigger budget at it this time around, as they did with Blair Witch 2.
Is it a worry that a director who made his directorial debut with Saw VI last year is going to helm Paranormal Activity 2? Will this mean that we'll get a gorier film, as opposed to the atmospheric scares that made the first film so effective? Well, Gruetert isn't writing the script, so that may not be the case, but it seems an odd choice considering PA was done in one style of horror (non-gory), and now they're bringing on a director whose last horror film was gory-as-hell.
Paranormal Activity producers, Oren Peli and Jason Blum, will serve as producers for the sequel (read: not just exec producers who throw their name on the poster), so at least fans of the first can take a bit of comfort in that fact. But overall I'm not too happy about this news, both because of who they've chosen to direct but also because I don't think Paranormal Activity in any way needs a sequel. It was an effective one-shot horror film in my eyes and even with the open ending (the theatrical ending that is, not one of the alternate endings), I feel like I've seen all I need to see from this particular story. But that's just me.
Are you happy with the director that's going to helm Paranormal Activity 2? Are you in favor of a sequel or do you agree that it's best left at one? Sound off in the comments section.
As stated, Paranormal Activity 2 is planned to be unleashed in theaters on October 22nd, 2010.
Source: THR Heat Vision Blog