Here’s yet the latest evidence that Hollywood knows a good thing when it sees it – and proceeds to then strangle it to death. The announcement just came down that a new director’s been signed up to helm the sequel to Paranormal Activity.
Yes, the uber-low-budget docu-style indie ghost thriller, which gained acclaim precisely because audiences didn’t know what to expect or what was real/staged, is now being converted into a big-budget, heavily-hyped sequel. Clearly its makers fail to understand what made Paranormal Activity a hit in the first place. (More at Techland: iPad content – a pricing roundup)
But profit ratios don’t lie. For a film that cost $15,000 to make, the haul was $151 million around the world. That’s a ROI of 1,000 percent. And so director Oren Peli – suddenly an A-list name around Hollywood circles – has been trotted out as producer, announcing that Tod “Kip” Williams is going to direct the sequel. You may remember Williams from such films as The Door in the Floor and The Adventures of Sebastian Cole.
Just kidding. No way you saw those. The former topped out at around $3.8 million at the box office.
But in a statement, Peli says that yes, this is the guy who will deliver: “Director Kip Williams will join us for the next chapter of the story. We are thrilled to have Kip working with us. He is the guy we want at the helm, because he knows exactly what we want to deliver to the fans … and I can’t wait to be a part of what he’s putting together. I don’t want to spoil the story but I promise it’ll surprise you. Stay tuned.”
I, for one, have no faith that Paranormal Activity 2 will achieve the same sort of surprise chills that distinguished the original. Williams is setting course on a doomed mission. And as for Peli, why doesn’t he just make a clean break? He’s already got Area 51 on the horizon – a project that most of us are actually excited for – so why not just leave Paranormal to the studios execs who are bound to run it into the ground? (Scratch that: I bet he gets a nice comfy exec producer check, so props for him)