Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on making blockbuster movies might be a recipe for leading spots at the box office, but Paramount Pictures has increasingly started to focus on the potential of micro-budget films to make massive profits from very minimal spending.
Following on from the overwhelming success of Paranormal Activity - a franchise that has since grossed over $800 million at the box office alone despite very tiny production budgets - the studio launched a new branch called Paramount Insurge, which would focus on producing micro-budget films. The first of these was The Devil Inside, a fake-documentary horror film about possession that cost only $1 million to make and grossed over $100 million at the box office.
With a major success already under its belt, Paramount Insurge is now looking to J.J. Abrams' production company Bad Robot for its next title. TheWrap reports that Bad Robot has greenlit a thriller called Valencia, which has a budget of around $5 million and is set to begin shooting this fall. The script was penned by Dan Casey, based on an earlier draft by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken, and commercials director Dan Trachtenberg has been hired to direct it as his first feature film.
Since gaining widespread attention for his short fan film Portal: No Escape, Trachtenberg has been attached to a number of projects, including New Line's planned movie adaptation of Y: The Last Man. Brian K. Vaughan, author of the original comic, recently said that the film needs to begin shooting within the next few months or New Line will lose the rights, so the fact that Trachtenberg has taken on a different commitment this year may mean that the death knell has been tolled for that particular adaptation.
It's a shame that such a great story has struggled so hard to get off the ground as a movie, though it's possible that Y: The Last Man will yet be produced by a different studio, perhaps as a TV series or miniseries instead of a feature. In the mean time, Valencia does sound like an interesting project: the majority of the story takes place in a basement, where a girl wakes up after a car accident and is told by her only companion - a caretaker - that the world above has been torn apart by a nuclear attack.
We'll keep you updated on Valencia as development continues.