Last year's Paranormal Activity was "the movie marketing story of the year." Fueled by strong word-of-mouth from midnight screenings in college towns and then big cities and unprecedented viral publicity, the rudimentary horror film, made for a mere $16,000, went on to earn a startling $193 million at the box office. Inevitably, expectations are high for Paranormal Activity 2, but can the sequel possibly live up to its predecessor's surprise success? (Watch a trailer for Paranormal Activity 2)
Now that there's a fan base, the sequel should do well: "The new film stays true to the original’s hand-held look and is so far getting pretty good reviews," says Dorothy Pomerantz in Forbes. More importantly, the first film's success has paved the way by creating an existing fan base. "Paramount has not resorted to such an elaborate marketing campaign this time around [because] it didn’t have to."
"Paranormal Activity 2 Should Scare Up The No. 1 Spot This Weekend"
That doesn't mean it will have staying power: It's not easy to replicate the "independent, viral feel of the original" with a traditional wide release, says Ben Fritz in the Los Angeles Times. I expect the sequel will have a strong opening weekend, drawing in devoted fans from the first film, but it will need good buzz and decent reviews to maintain any momentum.
"Movie projector: 'Paranormal Activity 2' looking to scare 'Jackass 3-D' out of the top spot"
The marketing goals are different this time: This isn't about replicating the original formula, says Andrew Hampp in Ad Age. Not only has Paramount opted for a standard wide release, the trailers and TV spots are far more traditional. But the studio isn't just gambling on a single little film this time. They're trying to build a "future horror franchise."
"Can Paramount scare up same buzz for 'Paranormal' sequel?"
It's off to a good start: So far, so great, says Daniel Frankel at The Wrap. The film brought in $6.3-million from last night's midnight screenings. "That's the best midnight premiere ever for an R-rated movie" and "the best midnight premiere ever in October." The film should gross "well over" $30 million this weekend, as this "homegrown horror franchise continues to come up abnormally large at the domestic box office."
"'Paranormal' Scores R-Rated Record $6.3M Midnight Opening"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
Paul Allen's 'bitter' Bill-Gates-bashing memoir
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 8 ways you're probably overspending without even realizing it
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
Subscribe to the Week