Paranormal Activity 2 took in an estimated $41.5 million for its debut weekend, the highest ever for a horror film not accounting for ticket price inflation, immediately making it a viable franchise for Paramount Pictures. The Studios may now well look to creating annual installments based on its success, as Lionsgate has done with its low budget phenomenon, Saw. Creating a viable sequel for Paranormal Activity was no easy move for Paramount as the studio attempted to replicate the commercial success of a film made independently for just $15,000 that turned into a box office blockbuster last year based almost entirely on word of mouth and Internet advertising. Remember Blair witch 2.
For the sequel, the studio couldn’t again build buzz through stealth late-night screenings since audiences were now familiar with the title. But prior to opening the film last Friday, Paramount kept the plot and characters tightly guarded and strategically leaked details online through horror websites. Most television advertising was held off until the last week and then aired primarily in late night on cable to reach the target under-25 demographic.
Ultimately Paramount did an effective job. In a series such as this it was no easy task, creating an interesting, relevant and just as engaging storyline as the original without repetition or relying on cliché was no walk in the park. The original’s strengths were not easy to replicate without the danger of over familiarizing the audience with the same box of tricks. But Paranormal Activity 2 was very engaging, maybe not as much as the original but it was certainly close. You can expect the same “shock factor" as its predecessor, the same tension laden direction pulling in the audience. Its faults are minimal, my main complaint with the original being the overtly out of context ending finds its way back into the sequel. But overall this is a good sequel for an interesting and most likely new franchise.