Filmmaker Oren Peli did something very simple to become the next hot thing in horror in Hollywood: a made a movie for cheap that made millions of dollars. “Paranormal Activity” was an unbelievable box office sensation, building up through a clever marketing campaign, the film netted nearly $200 million worldwide on a microscopic budget. Since then Peli has thrown his weight around as a producer, working behind the scenes on “Paranormal Activity 2” and “Insidious,” which both performed extraordinarily well. However, his sophomore feature effort “Area 51” — which wrapped principal photography over a year ago — is still undergoing rewrites and additional shooting.
Once again using the “found footage” storytelling style, the story centers on three teens who venture to Area 51 in Nevada. In April, Bloody Disgusting reported that Chris Denham had been hired by Paramount do some rewrites and that addition footage was going to be shot. However, producer Jason Blum has opened up a little more about what is going on with the film.
In an interview with ShockTilYouDrop (via /Film), Blum revealed there is still much more work to be done. “‘Area 51’ is like ‘Paranormal Activity.’ The additional photography for ‘Paranormal Activity,’ we went back 50 times. The great thing about doing extra shooting for inexpensive movies is that the cost is low, so we screen and shoot and screen and shoot,” he said. “Oren and I were pulled away from ‘Area 51’ a lot for the second ‘Paranormal.’ Once that came out, we ramped up on ‘Area 51’ again. I anticipate the movie will be mostly done in about three or four months. They can’t set a release date yet until we do all of that.”
So is this a troubled production or film that’s simply been coming together in fits and starts? Seems like more of the latter. Pressed for a release date, Blum didn’t rule out the film being released by the end of the year but with “Paranormal Activity 3” already set for a Halloween release, we’d guess that Paramount will want a trailer in front of that film and an early 2012 date for “Area 51.” As Blum mentions, since costs are low, going to back to tweak and rework isn’t too much on issue compared to bigger budget films which is likely why the filmmakers are being left to their own devices for now. But sooner or later, Peli will have to deliver and we’ll see if “Paranormal Activity” was a fluke or if Peli is the real deal.