Paramount may produce ‘Paranormal Activity’ sequel


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Can lightning strike twice?

Paramount Pictures is hoping so, as the studio is actively considering producing a sequel to ‘Paranormal Activity,’ the out-of-the-blue horror flick that cost $15,000 to produce and has sold $62.5 million worth of tickets so far domestically.

‘We have the rights on a worldwide basis to do ‘Paranormal 2’ and we’re looking to see if that makes some sense,’ Paramount Chairman Brad Grey said in an interview today.


In an industry obsessed with building franchises, a second ‘Paranormal Activity’ seems like a no-brainer. The studio acquired the movie for just $300,000 and has spent less than $10 million on marketing, relying primarily on word-of-mouth and Internet buzz. It is on track to gross more than $100 million domestically. That would make it, Grey said, the most profitable film for Paramount since he took over in 2005 and, quite possibly, in the studio’s history.

Producing follow-ups to low-cost movies that unexpectedly capture the nation’s attention can be difficult, however, making a ‘Paranormal’ sequel a potentially perilous task for the studio. ‘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.

Paramount has an extra reason to make a sequel to ‘Paranormal Activity’ beyond trying to duplicate its success: Although the studio has only domestic rights to the current film, it would have worldwide rights to a follow-up, Grey noted.

If it owned the movie overseas as well, ‘Paranormal Activity’ would be even more profitable for Paramount. The film, which starts playing in foreign countries Friday, is being sold to international distributors by IM Global.

-- Ben Fritz