While the Paranormal Activity franchise is one of the unlikeliest successes in modern Hollywood history – the first movie made over $193 million on a $15,000 budget thanks to huge word of mouth and a smart marketing campaign that asked audiences to demand the film be shown in their area – a slew of disappointing sequels quickly slashed its momentum and could never capture the same magic again.
After five sequels, with the latest film only making $18 million, the franchise seemed to have been quietly laid to rest. However, while out promoting new film Happy Death Day, Blumhouse’s Jason Blum mentioned that while there are currently no plans for another Paranormal Activity film, he’d be open to a reboot if Happy Death Day director Christopher Landon came to him with some ideas.
“Paranormal Activity is on hiatus, but if Chris over here – who has done four Paranormal Activity movies – if he had an idea to reboot it we’re very open to hearing it”.
This means next to nothing, but it’s worth mentioning because, like any previously successful horror franchise, a new Paranormal Activity film is bound to arrive at some point. Give it enough time, let audiences forget how they’ve been burned by the poor quality of films before, and studios will reboot almost any name-brand franchise. Just look at Saw, which has a new film arriving later this month – Jigsaw.
Of course it’s fair to wonder if perhaps the found footage genre doesn’t suit a franchise. The beauty of the first Paranormal Activity film and its influential predecessors like The Blair Witch Project is the uniqueness of its presentation. Diluting the originality of the first film with a bunch of sequels presented the exact same way isn’t a great recipe for success.
Found footage predominantly works in small, singular doses. Perhaps if Paranormal Activity films hadn’t been churned out yearly for a quick buck audiences wouldn’t have grown so tired of them. If Blumhouse is open a reboot, they may have to change their approach slightly.
Happy Death Day arrives in cinemas Friday, October 13.