Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
January 7, 2014
Kim Hollis: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones earned $18.3 million this weekend on a scant $5 million budget. What do you think about this result, and what do you think this means for Paranormal Activity 5, slated to open later this year?
Jason Barney: Even with Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones opening less than expected and allowing Frozen to take first place, there is a story of profitability with these films that cannot be ignored. Sure, the numbers have decreased over the life of the franchise, but I am not sure Paramount really cares. I am almost surprised the story of how much money these films make does not get more attention. Paramount discovered a gold mine and a formula for making money without much risk, and they have exploited that for every cent it is worth. With an official budget of $5 million, even with marketing costs, this is already extremely profitable, and the studio has nothing to worry about. I doubt they are even concerned about the diminishing return of the series. Who would be? When they can invest so little and at the end of opening weekend be smiling at the profitability, they have made incredibly smart decisions. The wisdom and logic of putting money into this sort of investment rather than a studio investing in something like Lone Ranger or Man of Steel… this just makes a lot more economic sense. Paramount can only smile, even if this is making fewer dollars than the earlier installments.
Edwin Davies: This confirms what we saw with Paranormal Activity 4, that the franchise has worn out its welcome pretty quickly - quicker even than the Saw franchise that it helped kill - but that the costs on these films are so low that it doesn't matter too much. I also think that expectations for The Marked Ones were lower since it's a spin-off, rather than a direct sequel, and it's rare for a spin-off to do as well as a film from the main franchise. I would expect Paranormal Activity 5 to do better than The Marked Ones, but I wouldn't expect it to arrest the decline that is very much set in at this point.
Tony Kollath: The timing of the release feels really weird, as this was the first film in the series that was not released at Halloween. As there were no horror films, aside from the Carrie remake, released in October 2013, the Paranormal Activity franchise probably left a lot of money on the table by choosing this release date. Still, making four times your production budget over the opening weekend ensures that PA will win the Nobel Prize for Return on Investment in Movies, whenever that category is established.
Felix Quinonez: When you consider the budget, this is a clear winner. But as far as the franchise is concerned, I think that it's clearly old news. I don't think PA5 will reverse the downward trajectory. They should just bill the next one as the final chapter and add 3D to attract whatever interest is left and call it a night like the Saw series did.