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Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 10-17-11


 
“Paranormal Activity 3” – In theaters October 21

“Paranormal Activity 3” – In theaters October 21

Stars of “Paranormal Activity 3” Jessica Tyler Brown and Chloe Csengery

Stars of “Paranormal Activity 3” Jessica Tyler Brown and Chloe Csengery

“The Three Musketeers” – In theaters October 21

“The Three Musketeers” – In theaters October 21

Scene from “The Three Musketeers” featuring Milla Jovovich as Milady de Winter

Scene from “The Three Musketeers” featuring Milla Jovovich as Milady de Winter

“Paranormal” power: Look for lots of activity at this weekend’s boxoffice — thanks to “Paranormal Activity 3.”

The latest episode in Paramount’s R rated powerhouse horror franchise opens at 3,000-plus screens and given its double digit first choice tracking scores should enjoy the kind of ticket sales that make movie marketers smile.

What’s impressive is that “Paranormal 3’s” showing equal strength in tracking studies with under-25 males and under-25 females. That’s as good as it can possibly get for a scary supernatural thriller like this.

“Paranormal” is a classic Hollywood marketing success story that hammers home today’s close ties between movie marketing and the Internet. The original “Paranormal Activity,” written and directed by Oren Peli, was made for an astoundingly low $15,000 and was picked up by Paramount in 2009, reportedly for around $200,000.

Paramount’s interactive marketing team only had a shoestring budget to work with, but managed to put together a viral video campaign that helped the movie become a powerhouse franchise and was an online marketing triumph.

When “Paranormal” kicked off Sept. 25, 2009 to $77,873 at 12 well chosen theatres where fans had voted on the Internet to bring it to their towns, it was clear that the studio had really connected with an audience that couldn’t wait to see the film. After carefully expanding its run for four weeks, Paramount went wide to 1,945 screens the weekend of Oct. 23-25, 2009 and really hit pay dirt — grossing $21.1 million or $10,850 per theatre.

The first “Paranormal” went on to gross $107.9 million in domestic theatres and another $85.4 million in international theatres for a worldwide cume of $193.4 million. And that’s not counting all those other global downstream revenues from things like pay TV, digital downloads, video on demand, DVD and cable. Clearly, “Paranormal” was one of the most profitable pictures of '09 or any other year given its ultra-low production and marketing costs.

Making a sequel was, needless to say, a real no-brainer for Paramount. “Paranormal Activity 2’s” budget was reportedly a modest $3 million. Produced by Oren Peli and directed by Tod Williams, it opened Oct. 22, 2010 to $40.7 million at 3,216 theatres, averaging $12,649 per theatre through its Internet-driven marketing. It ended up with $84.8 million domestically and $92.8 million more from international theatres for a worldwide cume of $177.5 million.

“Paranormal 3,” a prequel to the first two films, was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, directors of the 2010 documentary “Catfish.” It was produced by Jason Blum, Oren Peli and Steven Schneider and executive produced by Akiva Goldsman. Set in 1988, its story revolves around two sisters, Katie (Katie Featherston returns for the third time) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden was in the second episode), who befriend an invisible entity living in their home.

Paramount’s marketing team is once again making great use of the Internet and social networking to launch this episode. The studio reached out to moviegoers around the world with a Tweet To See It First campaign to put “Paranormal 3” sneaks in some markets Tue., Oct. 18, three days prior to its official opening.

Cities where fans tweeted sufficiently to get those sneaks booked include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix, Fresno, London, Ciudad de Mexico, Ciudad de Panama, Tel Aviv, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Toronto, Vancouver, Melbourne, Australia and Sheffield, UK.

With great tracking scores and the right post-sneaks buzz, “Paranormal 3” should have a great opening weekend.

As usual, moviegoers will also have lots of other new films competing for their time and money. Summit Entertainment’s PG-13 historical romantic action adventure “The Three Musketeers” is opening at about 3,000 theatres. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil – Afterlife”), it stars Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfayden and Ray Stevenson. “Musketeers” is tracking equally well across the board with younger and older men and women.

Universal’s PG comedy thriller “Johnny English Reborn,” directed by Oliver Parker (“The Importance of Being Earnest”), stars Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike and Dominic West. It’s opening at 1,500-plus theatres and is tracking best with under-25 males.

Quaker Media’s G rated sports drama “The Mighty Macs” about a basketball team at an all-girls Catholic college is opening via Freestyle Releasing at about 1,000 theatres. Directed by first time feature director Tim Chambers, it stars Carla Gugino and is tracking best with under-25 males and under-25 females.

Bottom line: “Paranormal 3” should open to the kind of business that’s become normal for this blockbuster franchise.