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"Paranormal Activity" Scared Steven Spielberg into a Deal

Posted: September 21st, 2009 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
"Paranormal Activity" Scared Steven Spielberg into a DealSubmit Comment
"The Blair Witch Project" cost only $35,000 to make, but it brought in around $250 million in ticket sales. Now, ten years later, "Paranormal Activity" is looking to duplicate "Blair Witch's" results.

"Paranormal" is a $15,000 horror movie made by Oren Peli, an Israeli-born video game designer who had no formal film training. He used a hand-held video camera and a crew of several San Diego friends. But his project has built up so much good buzz that both Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks have become involved.

Back when the studio was trying to decide whether it wanted to be part of the supernatural thriller, Spielberg had taken "Paranormal Activity" DVD to his Pacific Palisades estate, and not long after he watched it, the door to his empty bedroom inexplicably locked from the inside, forcing him to summon a locksmith. Spielberg refused to have the disc anywhere near his home, so he qickly brought the movie back to DreamWorks in a garbage bag.

At that point, the studio made up its mind and wanted to make a deal with Peli, but instead of releasing the film theatrically, it would hire him to remake it with a bigger budget and more resources. Peli agreed, but asked for the studio to hold at least one test screening before starting the remake.

In March 2008, a screening was held in Burbank with both screenwriters and movie-goers in attendance. Not long into the movie, audience members started to walk out, claiming that it was just too scary for them. At that point, DreamWorks abandoned the remake idea and began focusing on editing the original film.

At this point, "Paranormal Activity" is set to open in thirteen college towns on Friday, with a wider national rollout planned for mid-October. To see if the film will be playing near you, click here to visit the official website.

Trailer:

If you cannot see the player, click here.


Source: LA Times


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Displaying 58 comment(s) Profanity: Turn On
Ranger writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 10:13:42 PM

So... Steven's housekeeper forgets to close a window... it's blow a door shut, and this guy gets a movie deal?!

Sweet!
minkowski writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 10:14:04 PM

If this film scares me, I'll wash Michael Pitt's clothing. Deal?
WV-Films writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 10:14:44 PM

I wonder if this movie is really scary, or if it's just the next Blair Bitch to be overly promoted by hollywood.
minkowski writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 10:26:19 PM

"it's blow a door shut, and this guy gets a movie deal?!"

Wouldn't be the first time blowing got someone a movie deal. *cough* Ratner *cough*
PrevalentMind writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 10:28:48 PM

I heard it actually is pretty damn freaky once you get into it- but I seriously doubt a home video audience would be frightened as much without a full audience around them.

I don't like the buzz surrounding the changed endings- apparently there's 3- one's gory, and the other was made merely so they could have a cool trailer moment...So I dunno...Do we really want to be robbed again like we were with Blair Witch?
Detrimental writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 10:40:24 PM

CG is amazing. But that wasn't the movie they were watching. It was Spiderman 4.
Ranger writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 11:07:41 PM

This is probably the stolen Lohan sex tape... hand held and shaky. They'd better not put that sh*t in 3D. Her body fluids hitting the screen is enough the sicken AND infect the whole audience.
vwkombi writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 11:16:35 PM

I like the idea, and the hype is making me interested. Bring it to Australia, especially the town i live in. (I can't see that happening since i live such a sh*thole).
minkowski writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 11:17:43 PM

The've already made Lohan's film, Ranger. Here's the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO8MP3wMvqg
minkowski writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 11:18:09 PM

Love the avatar VK! LOL!
TH3D4RKKN1GH7 writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 11:31:49 PM

If it comes to the Big Apple I'll go see it.
Ranger writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 11:39:54 PM

@mink - lol, and at Ratner comment.

@vw - thx. I won't sleep tonight!!!
dandythelion writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 11:42:38 PM

well that's badass. my friends dad is a graveyard attendant who moonlights as a "ghost hunter" and i've tagged along with him a few times and we investigated the VAILE mansion in Independence Missouri overnight and it was the scariest experience i've ever had. it felt like house on haunted hill!
Ranger writes:
on September 20th, 2009 at 11:48:28 PM

@dandy - I'd LOVE to do that once or twice. Not because I'm a skeptic... but because I'm a believer. That would be a blast.
minkowski writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:01:38 AM

Umm, no offense to you Ranger, or anyone else, but ghosts are total bunk. And that's not merely my opinion.

I guess that's why scary films never scare me. Certainly, I welcome 'Paranormal Activity's' attempt, or more appropriately, challenge to hit me with a fright or two.

But like the Pepsi Challenge, there's really no contest.
TH3D4RKKN1GH7 writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:03:58 AM

It's all in the mind to me.
minkowski writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:06:01 AM

What is all in the mind, TDK?
Ranger writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:20:54 AM

Everything... if you think about it.
TH3D4RKKN1GH7 writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:27:52 AM

All this paranormal activity stuff. Like people seeing ghosts and hearing spirits. I don't legitimately believe there are ghosts or "evil spirits" lurking around; the mind can really f*ck with you when it wants to... which is most of the time.
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:27:56 AM

I hope this scares/disturbs me. The last ones that had that effect on me were "Inside" and "Martyrs". Opens next week at a theater here in Columbus, OH down by OSU's campus! They serve good beer and you can order take out through the lobby.
TH3D4RKKN1GH7 writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:34:56 AM

Oh Martyrs pissed me off what a ugh that film. Inside however is badass, so damn gorey. Still pissed those guys dropped out of the Halloween 2 running and we got stuck with... *sigh*
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:41:04 AM

I couldn't eat the rest of the day after seeing "Martyrs", haha. Didn't scare me, just disturbing...
TH3D4RKKN1GH7 writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:48:49 AM

Ever see Audition?
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:50:37 AM

No, is it French?
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 12:54:29 AM

Just put it in my Netflix queue.
minkowski writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 1:09:55 AM

Clever, Ranger. lol.
TH3D4RKKN1GH7 writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 1:43:26 AM

Yeah AC it's a damn good horror film, has some pretty sick stuff in it. You've seen Inside and Martyrs though so you've been properly prepped for it, but I saw Audition a couple of years ago and ugh... so f*cked up. I still however think the most f*ckED up horror film I've seen is Funny Games. It's more like a visual lecture telling you the whole time "You shouldn't be watching this, violence is bad" and its why I kind of hate the film. But out of all the films I've seen, Funny Games makes me the most uncomfortable.
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 2:00:03 AM

Is the re-make any good? I saw that there is one with Naomi Watts(2007) and a German one from 1998 that is Un-Rated.
TH3D4RKKN1GH7 writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 2:08:05 AM

It's the same film, same exact shots, same director. It was a pointless remake to be honest. I've seen both it doesn't really matter which you see both are equally f*cked up.
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 2:21:37 AM

I will get the Watts one then, I have seen her naked. Hahaha.
triggax writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 2:42:20 AM

"Ever see Audition?"

Absolutely NOT french, its Takashi Miike... its japanese... And he has a number of eye opening horror films, that, if you're into it, will entertain you...
Audition was excellent.. Ichi the killer and Imprint... as well as One missed call.. and not the p*ssy ass american version..

Also if you're into horror check out the japanese original of "pulse" f*cking scary as hell.. its called KAIRO.
FBO writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 2:44:38 AM

Anybody who doesn't believe in Ghosts has never been to Casper Wyoming. It's really funny, everybody has a story there. I lived there for only six months and I have a story
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 2:53:18 AM

@trig, thanks! I will add them to the queue!
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 3:03:25 AM

@FBO, I went to Ohio University and there were a lot of people believe it is haunted(old mental hospital and 5 cemeteries forming the shape of a pentagram).

Here is a link:

http://www.prairieghosts.com/oh-athen.html
Ranger writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 3:14:14 AM

'...cemeteries forming the shape of a pentagram.'

Whose f*cking idea was that?!?!
triggax writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 3:16:24 AM

Mine.
acslaterson writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 3:29:04 AM

Hahaha, it's BS. Just passing the story along.
Ranger writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 3:58:33 AM

lol.
The Skippy Spartan writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 5:09:45 AM

For some reason, small budget films can do amazing, this will defiantly become a cult hit!

So when it comes to DVD in Australia, i will buy it, and watch it at midnight! If it scares me, then we know it will be good!
Johnny Neat writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 10:23:18 AM

@WV-Films - I'm with you on this one.
Armpit writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 11:33:51 AM

I don't believe that any ghost could scare a jew into making a deal. There's something else we don't know.
minkowski writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 11:45:08 AM

Must've been the three spirits of Christmas. It worked on Scrooge.
bluemeenie writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 3:27:58 PM

The relatively young country of America is the only country that thinks this crap is not real...It's not stuff you want to mess with.
SpookyCupcakes writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 3:54:08 PM

This film actually does look pretty creepy, I saw the trailer like 2 years ago.
Armpit writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 4:04:40 PM

It's not about my beliefs - it's about the fact that even if ghosts do exist - I don,t think they have the power to make a jew take money out of his pocket.
MYVAGHURTZ writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 4:36:47 PM

Bull sh*t, if this guy wasn't Israeli born Spielberg would have taken an steaming sh*t all over the movie before he handed it back to him.
Snarebeast writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 4:37:45 PM

I believe in ghosts. I've done some ghost hunting, seen and experienced some things that I just can't brush off. But it's all about how you approach it. You pretty much have to get into the mind frame of a skeptic in order to go about it the right way. If you go in there thinking that you're going to see a ghost, then every little creep and shadow you see you're going to think is something coming after you. At the same time, if you go in there hard-pressed to not believe then you're gonna work up a way to debunk everything, no matter how ridiculous the scenario turns out in the end. So I guess I'm a skeptic believer, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, I keep hearing about how scary this movie is. I don't know. Doesn't seem like Steven was too scared until the door fiasco. That would probably spook me too. And playing it in college towns is going to get you some good sound bites about how scary it is. Because I have been to college, I have fraternized with those who go there, and most of them wouldn't know a good scary movie if it stabbed them in the head.
realgirl76 writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 4:44:40 PM

I have NEVER seen anyone walk out of the theater because a movie was "too scary". I saw Showgirls back in the day!(shudders)
Randal Graves writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 4:59:16 PM

if ghosts are real then what are zombies for?
Snarebeast writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 5:05:30 PM

After watching that trailer again, I really don't know. There's testimony from different websites and all that, sure. But watching audience reactions, as well as the footage shown, it seems more like a jump scare kinda movie. Those are fun, but they hardly terrify and resonate with me for great amounts of time afterwards.

Plus, how do we even know that they're watching Paranormal Activity? Maybe they're just extras who showed up to shoot a commercial. Had they actually shown footage of the movie playing, it would've been easier to buy. Instead we got footage clearly super-imposed over a calm-looking audience.
Snarebeast writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 5:14:21 PM

"if ghosts are real then what are zombies for?"

Social commentary.
SpookyCupcakes writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 5:29:02 PM

The only people that don't believe in ghosts are people that have never encountered with them.
minkowski writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 11:16:06 PM

The only people that have encountered ghosts are delusional, irrational and chock full of bullsh*t. How's that?

I bet you've 'encountered' the Mothman, Nessie, Sasquatch, Champ and aliens hailing from Zeta Reticuli V.
vwkombi writes:
on September 21st, 2009 at 11:32:10 PM

Hey Mink, i've encountered ghosts before. But i'm a 'skeptical believer'. In the sense that i do believe in ghosts, but want some proof that they exist.
FBO writes:
on September 22nd, 2009 at 3:02:26 AM

See I think "Scary Movies" took a wrong turn somewhere. Stephen King had it right when he said that you don't need gore to freak out your readers (or movie goers) The way I see it is if you turn your head to not see a gory scene then it's a bullsh*t movie. Saw 1 - 19 all suck. Same with all the rip offs like tourista and the cave, all crap. But if you watch a movie that protrays real emotion, i.e. great acting, then you're on to something. The reason the Blair Watch did so well is because (1) It was a new concept that people where interested to see and (2) because when the actors in the movie screamed it was their real emotion. So even if you knew it was "fake" you also knew that the actors didn't know that and their fear is the type everyone feels atleast once in their lives.

This movie will do well. But it'll probably be like District 9. Good story, just doesn't live up to it's hype.
Armpit writes:
on September 22nd, 2009 at 11:37:26 AM

Snorebeast, we're all very happy about your testimony. I happen to believe that there is a planet Krypton that will blow up one day and that they'll send their last son, named Captain Crunch but - as you can read - it's a little off-topic...
atn5022 writes:
on September 25th, 2009 at 8:07:31 AM

watched this movie last night, while its not terrifying per se, it is suspensful and tense, and there are a few jumps towards the end. it really makes you feel like this is a real couple and could actually happen
OMEGA_PI writes:
on October 11th, 2010 at 2:05:51 AM

Y'all kids don't kno anythin its not in the mind my parents thought I was crazy they took me 2 a psycho an I had test and they showed I was fine and wen I told them I saw my great great aunt in the car and she told me 2 tell them 2 stop and once they did 2 minutes pass and there was a huge car crash rite in front of us... so y'all better get y'all faccts straight wat mite have happend in this movie was fake but this stuff does happen in real life...... all my life since I was 6 I've been able 2 see things.... I was confronted by demons and I have seen angels.... I was possesed by a demon and y'all don't wanna kno the thngs that it said.... I spoke latin in the middle of the nite.... I have a blessing and a curse....... nxt time don't ever say its in ur mind because everything that u thnk is fake is real..

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