Monday, October 25, 2010

Horror Kicks Ass at the Box Office

Honestly, I didn't see that coming. In fact, I don't think anyone did. "Paranormal Activity 2" delivered. Not only did it deliver, it won the weekend with ease. Further, it drew North of $40Million, which makes it the highest-grossing opening for a supernatural horror film... ever. "Hereafter" was the only other film to open this weekend and it didn't do quite as well. With all due respect to Clint Eastwood, Paranormal 2 will probably flicker out fairly quick and "Hereafter" will stick around for a while. Sure, they're both supernatural films, but they're completely different audiences. Parents are going to "Hereafter", their kids are going to "Paranormal 2". In any case, let's take a closer look at Paranormal 2...

When it was announced, I thought we were going to have another Blair Witch 2 on our hands, I really did. Now, why didn't we? I think there's a couple of things to look at, the first being the most obvious - "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" sucked. No question, it was just bad. Having said that, that doesn't necessarily mean it should open as poorly as it did. As we all know, bad movies can open well. What I think is the most intriguing thing is that "Blair Witch" abandoned it's 'found footage' look when it came to the sequel. They put a decent budget behind it, around $15Million, and went out and made a traditional film, based on the original. Juxtapose that with "Paranormal Activity 2", where they kept with the 'found footage' style, as the sequel revolves around a family that sets up security cameras because they think they're experiencing a bunch of break-ins, and they kept the budget low. Paranormal 2 only cost $3Million to make. Morale of the story? Even though you can do more, sometimes you should just stick with what works... or, in this case, what worked. The good news for us indie filmmakers is, this is a style that's now worked for various films and it's a look that you can easily emulate on a meagre budget. As long as 'found footage' films and horror mock-docs sell, micro-cinema filmmakers have something to hang their hat on.

Now, next week brings the opposite side of the spectrum, when "Saw 3D" comes out. The original "Saw" was a small film, but its now spawned a mind-blowing 7 installments. The last few have been a bit lack-lustre, but they're hoping to reboot the franchise with an all-out 3D version. Also interesting to note that Cary Elwes is back... I'm not sure in what capacity, though.

I'll look forward to seeing how it does. Until then, enjoy Halloween week! Always a good week for horror fans...

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