The fourth installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise literally opened in theaters three days ago, but Paramount has already given a greenlight and a Halloween 2013 release date for Paranormal Activity 5. Though the decision isn’t exactly a shock, many expected Paramount to take a bit more time to figure out how to move forward with the series in the wake of Paranormal Activity 4’s relatively disappointing box office numbers. The found footage horror pic scored only $30 million domestically this weekend, falling short of the opening weekend takes of PA 2 and PA 3. Hit the jump for more.
Four weeks ago, the summer movie season started off with a super-powered bang in the form of Marvel’s The Avengers. Since then? It’s been difficult to prove that any other film was in theatres. That changed on Friday when Sony’s Men in Black 3 became the first post-Avengers release to take first place. From its very wide release in 4,248 locations (including 3D & IMAX), MIB3 took in an estimated $18 million. Despite becoming the first new number one title in 21 days, however, MIB3 is not looking like an automatic blockbuster. After a less-than enthusiastic midnight debut, projections for the film went from $90 million over the four-day Memorial Day frame down to a more modest $74 million. That’s about what the much-maligned Men in Black II made in its first four days (not adjusted for inflation) back in 2002. On a more positive note, Sony is expecting big numbers from MIB3’s international markets. As for The Avengers, Disney projects another $45 million for its superheroes through Memorial Day. Finally, Chernobyl Diaries – the latest from producer Oren Peli – earned an estimated $3.5 million on Friday from 2,433 locations towards what should be a $12 million four-day total. Ouch.
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For some odd reason, I had assumed Chernobyl Diaries to be another entry into the ever-growing found footage horror sub-genre, perhaps due to Oren “Paranormal Activity” Peli’s moniker or to the trailer’s Cinema verite feel. But imagine my chagrin when about five minutes into Chernobyl Diaries, the film hastily eschews its found footage conceit instead opting for a third person narrative. I mean it’s still the same old, same old: a bunch of stupid American tourists go to a place they shouldn’t and then get offed one by one – but, hey, at least they’re smart enough to turn their fucking iPhone cameras off as their friends get dismembered.
More so: Is this discarding of the found-footage format indicative of something larger? Could it be a sign that Oren Peli – responsible for reigniting the craze in the first place – grows tired of all that camera shaking, fourth walling breaking shtick? This was the question on my mind when I sat down with Peli to discuss Chernobyl Diaries, which he co-wrote and produced. In the following interview, Peli discusses moving away from found-footage, whether or not he feels pigeonholed by the genre, and balancing the creative and business sides of his position as writer/producer. For the full interview, hit the jump.
A few new photos have popped up online for director Bradley Parker’s Chernobyl Diaries and Sarah Polley’s indie drama, Take This Waltz starring Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams. First up from writer/producer Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) comes Chernobyl Diaries, the supernatural horror tale set on the site of the famous nuclear meltdown of 1986. Six tourists hire a travel guide to take them on an “extreme” sight-seeing tour of the abandoned area and find they are not alone and the inhabitants are none too friendly, which this trailer clearly shows. Chernobyl Diaries opens May 25th.
Take This Waltz features Rogen and Williams as a young married couple whose relationship is threatened when a handsome artist (Luke Kirby) enters the equation. Polley’s directorial debut, Away From Her, earned her an Oscar nod for best writing and adapted screenplay. The buzz around the indie has been quite positive; you can watch a sampling of it in this trailer. Hit the jump to see the new photos.
With the horror-franchise Paranormal Activity going strong (the three movies released so far have brought in an excess of half-a-billion dollars) and recent religious horror films doing well in the box office (The Devil Inside), the Paranormal Activity folks are turning their attention to a film that explores Catholic-based paranormal mythology. The twist on this offshoot is that they’re targeting the Latino community, an increasingly important market for movie studios. While the horror flick will feature a Latino cast, the film will not be in Spanish. Paranormal Activity producers Jason Blum and Oren Peli will reunite with writer Christopher Landon, who will write and direct the project for Paramount. Hit the jump for more info.
The first trailer for the latest horror-thriller from Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli has gone online. Chernobyl Diaries follows a group of friends vacationing in Eastern Europe who find themselves stranded in a ghost town near the nuclear reactor incident site of Chernobyl. As expected, they begin to realize they’re not entirely alone. I actually think Chernobyl is an intriguing location for a horror pic, and though I’m not normally a fan of Peli’s stuff, the historical aspect of Chernobyl on display in the trailer is appealing. It’s hard to tell if the jump scares work or not from a computer screen, but I’m sure audiences will have a better idea of the film’s “scare factor” when they see the trailer in theaters. I still can’t figure out whether this is a found footage movie or not; either it is, or it’s filmed in a very handheld style. Peli was originally set to direct Chernobyl Diaries but he handed duties off to Brad Parker while assuming a producer role.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film stars Jonathan Sadowski, Jesse McCartney, Devin Kelley, Nathan Phillips, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Dimitry Diatchenko, and Olivia Taylor Dudley. Chernobyl Diaries opens May 25th.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Oren Peli, his three Paranormal Activity films have grossed over half-a-billion dollars and is the creator of ABC’s The River, a horror-thriller set deep in the Amazon rain forest. Back in November, we had word that Peli was developing a new horror feature that was filming in Eastern Europe. Now titled Chernobyl Diaries, the film was recently acquired by Alcon Entertainment. The synopsis is as follows:
An original story by Peli, Chernobyl Diaries is set in the city of Prypiat that once housed the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, the horror-thriller follows a group of friends who, while vacationing in Europe, find themselves stranded in the abandoned city only to discover that they are not alone.
Chernobyl Diaries is expected to release this Memorial Day Weekend. Hit the jump for the full press release.
ABC’s intensely scary paranormal thriller The River follows the story of world famous wildlife expert and TV personality Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), host of the beloved series “The Undiscovered Country.” After Cole goes missing deep in the Amazon, his wife, Tess (Leslie Hope), and estranged son, Lincoln (Joe Anderson), decide to lead a rescue mission deep into the unexplored reaches of the Amazon River, where nature is cruel, magic is real and nothing is what it seems.
While at the TCA Winter Press Tour, executive producer Oren Peli (creator of Paranormal Activity) talked about how he ended up developing an idea for a TV show, the extent of Steven Spielberg’s involvement, the challenges of telling a season’s worth of story in only eight episodes, doing the episodes with a scare-of-the-week while also advancing the overall mystery, trying to create moments where you don’t know what’s going to happen because it’s the unexpected that’s scary, and that even though no one is safe, characters won’t be killed off just for the sake of killing them off. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
There is a lot Paranormal Activity grand maestro Oren Peli won’t talk about. He won’t talk about his long delayed Area 51. He won’t talk about any hypothetical projects or anyone he wants to work with in the future. He won’t give any specifics on his new TV series, The River. And he professes that he has no idea what Paranormal Activity 4 will look like. With this in mind, it is no great shock to announce that a recent afternoon tea with Peli, as well as Christopher Nicholas Smith, Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown (all of Paranormal Activity 3) and Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston (stars of the original film) revealed no great secrets about the franchise’s future. Rather, much like the films themselves, it was an afternoon of looking back and filling in the holes and unanswered questions about what came before.
The players told us about the difficulty of faking amateur camerawork, why Steven Spielberg turned off the original film halfway through, how the production allows for scene ideas from literally everyone, where the original concept for Paranormal Activity 2 came from and much, much more. Read on for the top 20 things to know about our afternoon tea with the cast and crew of Paranormal Activity.
Back in May, we caught wind of a new horror project that Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli was cooking up. Details were slim at the time, but the film was said to center on a group of friends stranded in a ghost town overrun by nature. Today comes word that Brad Parker is set to helm the project based on an original idea by Peli, and we’ve got a few more plot details as well as a cast listing. It appears the ghost down in question is a city that was abandoned in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster, and as the sun sets on the town the group begins to hear “inhuman-sounding cries that indicate that they are not alone.”
The cast includes Jonathan Sadowski ($#*! My Dad Says), Jesse McCartney (Greek), Devin Kelley (The Chicago Code), Nathan Phillips (Snakes on a Plane), Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters), Dimitry Diatchenko (Get Smart), and Olivia Taylor Dudley. The script was written by Shane and Carey Van Dyke (The Sacred), and Peli is producing. Peli was originally thought to be directing this untitled thriller, but it appears Parker will be handling directing duties. We have yet to see a directorial follow-up from Peli after the franchise-spawning Paranormal Activity, as Area 51 is in the can and still sitting on a shelf somewhere. FilmNation is fully financing the untitled thriller. [Update: We've been sent the full press release, which informs us that filming has commenced in Eastern Europe. The release is included after the jump.]
The first trailer for the found footage horror pic Paranormal Activity 3 has gone online. Directed this time around by Catfish helmers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the film is set in the 1980s and promises to help audiences “discover the secret to the activity.” I too would like to learn how to turn $15,000 into more than $100 million so hopefully this entry will help achieve that end. Otherwise, the film looks to be an origin story that focuses on protagonist Katie’s younger years and the weird happenings that were referenced in the original. If this turns out to be the case, I can’t say I’m overly enthused about seeing it.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. Paranormal Activity 3 hits theaters this fall on October 21st.
Oren Peli had one of the greatest indie horror successes of recent years with Paranormal Activity. What started as a $15,000 project filmed in the first-time director’s house quickly turned into a viral phenomenon and a $193,000,000 worldwide hit. Now Peli is a major player in genre film. He’s already got his own horror production company, plus a follow up directorial project called Area 51 in the can for Paramount, and today it was announced that he will be directing a new horror film for FilmNation. No title is in place and details are being kept scarce for the time being, but the project will definitely involve some of the supernatural shenanigans that made Peli’s name and will be made outside of the influence of a Hollywood studio. Hit the jump for more details on the upcoming horror project.
Rob Zombie will direct the thriller The Lords of Salem this spring. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Zombie’s script is “set in contemporary Salem, where the inhabitants receive a demonic visit from a 300-year old coven of witches.” I’m sure the coven comes by because they heard how swimmingly everything went for witches the last time they were in Salem area. The film will be backed by Haunted Movies, which is a partnership between the UK’s Alliance films and Paranormal Activity producers Jason Blum, Oren Peli, and Steven Schneider. Haunted Movies plans to sell the rights to The Lords of Salem at the European Film Market in Berlin. They’ll also be showing footage from Barry Levinson’s upcoming film The Bay.
Who better to adapt a story by one of the creepiest writers of all time than director Oren Peli, who creeped out audiences a couple years ago with the critically acclaimed (and highly profitable) Paranormal Activity? According to Variety, Peli has signed on to helm Eliza Graves which is based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, or as we know him, the creator of eerie. Variety reports that the classic Poe tale enters on “a Harvard Medical School graduate who takes a job at an insane asylum, unaware of the fact that it has been taken over by its occupants.”
Hit the jump to learn about which high profile thespians were the first ones interested in the project as well as other Poe-related work that’s in the pipeline.
Before getting to speak with writer-director Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) on the red carpet at this year’s Scream Awards, I was told he was pretty guarded when talking about future projects. They were not wrong. That’s because while Peli was more than happy to talk about his involvement in Paranormal Activity 2 and whether or not the films could become a franchise like Saw, when I started asking him questions about his follow up film, Area 51, he immediately started to stonewall me. I’ve interviewed a number of people over the last few years and most are willing to at least acknowledge their next project…not Peli.
However, while he wouldn’t tell me anything on Area 51, we did talk about whether or not he’s willing to direct something he didn’t write, is he going to only work in the studio system, could he see a Paranormal Activity 3 next Halloween, and is he writing other projects. Hit the jump watch what he had to say. As usual, I’ve time indexed the interview so you can watch the parts that interest you.