When Paramount Pictures first announced it was making a sequel to the horror phenomenon Paranormal Activity, a lot of people were highly skeptical – including me. Like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity seemed like one of those fluky, out-of-nowhere smashes that couldn’t be repeated. Greenlighting a sequel so quickly – and then hurrying it into production just seven months after the first movie hit theaters – felt like a classic case of trying to get lightning to strike in the same place twice. After all, we all know how the Blair Witch sequel, Book of Shadows, turned out: it bombed big time, making less than a tenth of what the original film did at the domestic box office, dashing any hopes of a Blair Witch 3. When you think about it, how many really worthwhile horror movie sequels have there been anyway? For every Dawn of the Dead or Scream 2 or Evil Dead II (which was really more of a beefed-up remake than a sequel), there are a whole lot of Poltergiest II: The Other Sides and Exorcist II: The Heretics. So it’s a pretty stunning achievement for everyone involved in Paranormal Activity 2 that they didn’t just beat expectations with the movie’s $41.5 million opening weekend – they smashed them to a bloody, horror-movie pulp.
You can be sure that at this very moment there are conversations going on in the executive suites at Paramount about a potential Paranormal Activity 3. In fact, there already have been: Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore has said, “It’s certainly our hope that [producer] Oren [Peli] and his team have the ability to deliver another chapter in this.” On the one hand, while reviews were generally positive (including our own Owen Gleiberman’s), audiences gave Paranormal Activity 2 a decent-but-not-spectacular CinemaScore of B, perhaps suggesting some fatigue with the whole demons-caught-on-faux-home-video premise. On the other hand, as a return on investment – Paranormal Activity 2 cost a mere $3 million to produce and had relatively low marketing costs – this franchise seems like the closest thing possible in Hollywood to a tree that grows money. How can they resist doing another one? Or even several more?
But what do you think? Where does Paranormal Activity 2 fit for you in the canon of horror sequels? Do you see any creative life left in this franchise, or should they quit while they’re ahead? Give us your best pitch for what you’d like to see in a Paranormal Activity 3. I’m sure the folks at Paramount would love to hear it.