While "Michael Jackson's This Is It" was busy crossing the $200 million box office threshold, director Oren Peli's "found footage" horror flick "Paranormal Activity" quietly slipped past $100 million in box office receipts. Not a bad haul for a movie that cost less than $15,000 to make.
It's been an impressive run from multiple angles, really. "Paranormal" was completed in 2007 and screened for festival audiences in 2008. It was picked up for release, shuffled around as studio forces re-aligned, pegged for a total re-do and ultimately trickled out slowly into theaters by way of an ingenious marketing campaign that ostensibly gave fans the power to bring the movie to their city. Anticipation worked up to a fever pitch and the flick opened wide to unprecedented numbers.
In a press release issued by Paramount yesterday, "Paranormal" was revealed to be "the top-grossing R-rated thriller of the past decade." Next up for Peli is another "found footage" effort, titled (for now) "Area 51." The first plot details hit the Internet earlier this week.
Peli wouldn't comment on the sustainability of a "found footage" franchise when I asked him about it a few weeks back, but it looks like he's well on the way to establishing just that. If "Area 51" turns out to be half as suspenseful as "Paranormal," the question may just answer itself.
Are you one of the few who hasn't seen "Paranormal Activity" yet? What do you think we can expect from "Area 51"? Would you like to see Peli move in a more traditional direction as a filmmaker?