"Paranormal" sequel gets ready with "Saw" director

Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:15am EST
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By Jay Fernandez and Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Something's moving in the "Paranormal Activity 2" house.

Paramount has hired TV writer Michael R. Perry ("Millennium") and "Saw VI" director Kevin Greutert to create the sequel to 2009's biggest surprise hit, "Paranormal Activity," which scared up $151 million in worldwide grosses in the fall on a shoestring $15,000 budget and a shrewd, opt-in Web marketing campaign.

Significantly, Paramount will unleash it in theaters on the pre-Halloween weekend of October 22, which sets it against that date's reigning champion in previous years, the next installment in Lionsgate's "Saw" series (this year would be "VII").

In a symbolic twist, Greutert made his directorial debut on the sixth "Saw" film, which grossed just $31 million worldwide last year, with observers thinking that the franchise may be bleeding dry. He had edited the first five films.

Unsurprisingly, the filmmakers are keeping the story line -- as well as the film's actual title -- hidden in the attic.

"Paranormal Activity's" closest analog is "The Blair Witch Project," another no-budget creeper that eventually grossed an astounding $240 million worldwide in 1999. That film, as well, engaged a verite conceit and a minimal, unknown cast to spooky effect.

Production company Artisan Entertainment tried to capture lightning a second time by quickly producing a sequel with a bigger, if still low, budget. But "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2," released the following Halloween, grossed a mere $26 million.