Is Hollywood Abandoning Found Footage Sci-Fi?

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Apparently, the world of found footage sci-fi movies is very like the movie Highlander: There can only be one. After The Weinstein Company greenlit Timur Bekmambetov’s Apollo 18 last week, two other movies that were planning to use the same “fake documentary footage shot by a character in the movie” gimmick have found themselves in trouble as a result. Is Hollywood realizing that some ideas can be overused?

Yesterday, Roland Emmerich dropped out of The Zone, his mysterious project that he was promising would be delivered at an amazingly low price ($5 million), without explanation, and then today, it’s been revealed that Warner Bros has dropped Dark Moon, a project from producer Akiva Goldsman that it had purchased just last month. Both moves are believed to be as a result of Apollo 18‘s pick-up; while the plot of Dark Moon is close enough to Apollo‘s to make some sense of Warners’ leaving the project (Essentially, both follow the idea that manned moon missions continued past Apollo 17, and that said missions had uncovered mysterious things happening on the moon; Dark Moon has since been picked up by indie company Dark Castle), the fate of The Zone is said to be down to more practical concerns; one theory behind the project’s shutdown is that Emmerich was worried that Apollo‘s early March 2011 release date would have overshadowed the projected late March date for his own movie.

Whether or not Apollo 18 was behind either move, it’s interesting timing for both – and surprising, too, considering the recent success of Paranormal Activity 2 and relatively low-budget nature of the genre. Could this be the end of found footage genre movies, or just another lull while it awaits another Cloverfield?

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