This weekend gives us another paranormal activity movie. “Paranormal Activity” is now holding the mantle once held by the “Saw” movies releasing a movie every Halloween. Coming off yet another 100 million dollar film last year it’s obvious there will be a lot more of these. They’re three key questions to ask while forecasting this weekend.
1. What is the consistent appeal of these movies?
The first film came out of nowhere, costing 30,000 dollars to make and then grossing over 100 million dollars. The second opened to 40 million dollars and the third opened to 52 million dollars and made over 100 million dollars. The common rule of sequels is the second movie has higher opening weekend and total gross and every subsequent sequel faces diminishing returns.”The Paranormal Activity” films have the same found footage premise and yet audiences haven’t gotten sick of it.
The found footage phenomenon tries to give the audiences the impression that what is occurring really happened. “Paranormal Activity” was not the first movie to play this concept to huge box office.
“The Blair Witch Project” in 1999 was the first to use this gimmick to make over 100 million dollars. It was a brilliant marketing ploy at the time audiences really weren’t sure if the movie was real or not. The movie itself wasn’t that great except for the ending. Nevertheless the low-budget nature of both films helps sell the perception that it’s real because they look homemade.
When released “Paranormal Activity” took the found footage gimmick and applied it to a home movie of people sleeping while creepy events occurred. I’ve seen two of the three films in theaters and audiences I believe at this point don’t believe this is real. So it seems there is something more to these films than just being scary because it’s real.
When I went to see the films in theaters the real appeal wasn’t the films themselves but the crowd. Yelling and screaming is important when you go to these movies. If you yell and scream at the screen when you go to see “Looper” or “Argo” people would be pissed. The reason to see these movies is to get the community atmosphere because the films themselves are not that good without the crowd.
2. Does this Franchise finally feel the effect of diminishing returns?
The appeal of these movies has to eventually diminish. While the community atmosphere is still appealing the films big shock moments that cause the screams are becoming increasingly predictable. Eventually audiences will start to predict the shock moments and the screams and yells will be quieter.
Diminishing returns are inevitable likely starting with this movie but, it doesn’t mean the next few movies won’t make a lot of money.
This leads to question 3
3. How Much Will Paranormal Activity 4 make this weekend?
Since I believe the franchise still has momentum due to audiences liking the community atmosphere it will still have a huge opening weekend. As I pointed out earlier the shock moments are growing more predictable so audiences will start to wonder why they’re paying 10 bucks to see the same movie over and over again.
My Prediction: $44 million the movie begins to experience diminishing returns but still opens huge.
My Prediction vs Experts: My prediction is 44 million dollars
Box Office Mojo predicts: 42 millions
Box Office.com predicts: 46 million
The Hollywood Reporter predicts: less than 40 million.
As you can see only one of us is making a bold prediction because this movie’s performance is very predictable. Throughout this blog I hope to make more bold predictions and compare my results with experts predictions. I also have the benefit of not worrying about any consequences for making too bold a prediction.
Now that I’ve given my opinion give me your opinion of the films or their Box Office prospects