The horror franchise Paranormal Activity is finally coming to an end. What started in 2009 as a low budget horror movie based on the “found-footage” formula, turned out to become one of the biggest return on investment generating films ever in the history of Hollywood, launching a massively successful movie franchise. The film series consists of five movies so far, including a spin-off, and the sixth and final movie – Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension – will bring it to a conclusion. The five movies released so far were made on a cumulative production budget of only $18 million, and grossed.. eh well, take a guess. $811 million worldwide! That is about forty-five times the production budget. No wonder the sequels came one after the other in such quick succession.
In an interview with USA Today, the producer of the series, Jason Blum, talked about bringing the series to a conclusion.
It’s coming to an end. This is it, the finale. We’re saying it before the movie opens. We’re not going to grind this horror franchise into the ground.
I don’t know about the last bit. The series was already losing its sheen and the numbers reflect that. Paranormal Activity 4 of 2012 had the lowest worldwide box-office earnings in the series before the spin-off, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, did not even manage $100 million at the box-office globally. They were still big hits, given the low budgets on which the movies have been made. Nonetheless, Jason Blum, a master of making successful low-budget horror films, would have seen the writing on the wall, and decided to bring the series to an inevitable end. Those same millions could be redirected on some other movie franchise which hasn’t yet entered into the ‘repetitive’ zone. He is already involved in the making of a sequel to last year’s hit film Ouija, and has put in money in the on-going franchises of Insidious and The Purge. Nothing may give the same kind of returns that Paranormal Activity series brought home, but such a fantastic return on investment is, if I may dare say it, paranormal in itself, and should not even be expected to occur again.
This will keep Paranormal Activity as part of this culture and this particular time in a really fantastic way.
On that quote from Blum, few can disagree. Paranormal Activity will always be brought up in discussions and comparisons with other films, not only in the horror genre, but otherwise too, for its success story is worth becoming a story of legends. The original movie had in fact been made on a measly production budget of $15,000 and earned $193.4 million worldwide at the box-office. You do the math! The franchise will very much be a part of Hollywood fanfare, and it is thus wise to bring it to an end before it loses most of its sheen.
On the upcoming movie, Blum goes on to say this.
We couldn’t go just teasing. All the questions that everyone has asked from the past Paranormal Activity films: What does Toby look like? What’s the backstory to the families? These questions have been teased out. Now they will be answered.
Jason Blum and the film-makers are no doubt going to go all out to get the fans of the series, even those who probably quit watching it after the first two or three movies, to come and watch the final flick. And to do that they have to offer something more than just another ‘found footage’ based movie, which are a bit too many in number nowadays. So Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is going to reveal the story of Toby, the entity causing all the havoc, and give the backstory on the families. If the movie does bring about a good closure, it would be a fitting finale to the series, something that horror movie makers do not always care about. Eh, but will it be a ‘finale’ in the true sense of the term? Blum’s parting words make me wonder.
At some point, might there be a reboot? You never know. We’ve never discussed it. (But) we made this movie like it’s the end of this Paranormal line for sure.
So there you go, this may not be the final film after all. What Jason Blum is effectively saying is that Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension has been planned to bring an end to the series and close all the loops, but if it does mindblowingly well and gives a fantastic return on investment, then a reboot / spin-off would definitely be thought of. We cannot blame him for that line of thinking, but let’s hope that this is the end, after all. And we bury Toby with it. Let’s have some more room for newer ideas, eh!?
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is scheduled to release in the USA on October 23, 2015. Fans of the franchise may want to mark the date on their calendar.