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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Movie cost $15k to make and makes $63 million at box office?

   
Author Topic: Movie cost $15k to make and makes $63 million at box office?
Greg B
IE # 118
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http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=paranormalactivity.htm

So this movie Paranormal Activity has jaws dropping all over the place. It reportedly only cost $15,000 to produce but snagged in $63 million at the box office and it still has some steam left in it. DVDs and foreign revenue not in yet.

I'm sitting here working out ways for animators/small film folks to get up to $300k to make movies and these guys pull this off with just $15k?

I've also seen many scripts and treatments from folks here in Hollywood and I'd say 98% of them suck so bad that I was worried that in their spare time these people lurked around at night biting passersby in the neck.

Low level create level. Lots of agendized projects that focused on criticizing people for their shortcomings and political beliefs. Some of it real condescending crap as well. No wonder no one would finance them.

Originality and a tight ship sure paid off for this movie. Goes to show it can be done as we've seen here on AN over and over again.

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E. Allen
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Paranormal is doing amazing business at the B.O., but props must be given to the internet marketing campaign, which exploited social media in a way that had been previously unexploited.

Of course, it was a bit of a charade, since plans had always existed to expand Paranormal Activity into wide release, yet a promise for (the inevitable) expansion was turned into an incentive for the audience to participate, which resulted in a phenomenal increase in interest. Mattering just as much was the way the film was made, masterfully of course by Oren Peli, which is not overly reliant on visual Saw-like gimmickry. Hopefully Paranormal's success will mark not only a turning point in how films of this type and genre are marketed, but how they are made, period.

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Greg B
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Ja, reminds me of the furor over "The Blair Witch Project".

Before that movie hit the screen there was web chatter day and night. Then after it hit the screen there was web chatter day and night.

Shows what can happen when the people do the examination of a product versus the marketing engines doing it.

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E. Allen
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Back when Blair Witch hit, Web 2.0 was still an abstract. It was a rapidly developing concept that was not fully realized until the early years of this decade. MySpace, I believe, was still on the drawing board. MySpace's predecessor, Friendster, had not launched yet. And forget about the overhyped Twitter.

Paranormal took advantage of the platforms of all five or six of the most prominent tools of social media in the Web 2.0 age. The medium was similar, but the approach really wasn't and so therefore who knows how much bigger Blair Witch would've been if its marketing forces were able to harness the power of all the Web 2.0 technologies that did not exist at the time, along with the unique strategies that made ingenious use of these platforms?

On the surface, Greg, I admit it does seem like a copycat, and a musty one at that. But all of Nikki Finke's articles on how Paranormal's phenomenal success came to pass reveal the extent of the underlying efforts that went into extending a reach that could have otherwise been stunted by lack of exposure to the right parties. If a film like Bandslam had just an ounce of the apparent ingenuity that seems to power Paranormal's marketing, it wouldn't have bombed with a $2M weekend open and a final domestic gross that didn't even get to $10M.

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acme
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Unfortunately I don't think you could ever create a model from it and keep the same success. I think a lot of the success is just as much luck as it is being smart and creative. It was a simple story that did not call for major fx or sets. It is then wrapped up and sold in a package that allows the audience to be not only be cool with it's low budget feel but find it apart of it's charm. I don't know what the box office comparison would be, but be fun to see along side Cloverfield which spent some bucks.

I think the makers of South Park were smart in a similar way when making the first short. Crude animated paper cut outs. But because of it's theme with children we accept the low budget childlike created construction paper look.

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Zane Kohler

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Greg B
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Another, if not most powerful piece of data is one radio show: Coast To Coast AM

My pal George Noory and his producer Tom Danheiser broadcast from right there in Sherman Oaks. I've been associated with the show since the mid 90's and worked with previous host Art Bell as he was a member of our online forum on America Online.

George's show hits millions of interested, targeted people every night. If George mentions your book or movie or tv show on his show you will hit stellar stats. His show is a server destroyer. Folks interested in the paranormal are massive on a worldwide basis. The paranormal community is so massive it's like another country. Back ten or twelve years ago it was one or two popular radio shows, Art Bell and Jeff Rense. Then bigger websites, forums, across country borders to the point I speak to thousands of people if not millions on a daily basis regarding these topics. Now that paranormal nook has encompassed religion, history, all sciences and more.

Paranormal Activity hit the right niche using the right tools that were both inside and outside the box.

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E. Allen
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No way you can take this model & use it for other projects! For the most part, I believe it's half a crapshoot and half what the genre is, and for this film it helped that Spielberg watched it & endorsed it in his own way.

Way I feel is, if you put the word out in a unique way, you're gonna drum up curiosity. Even if nothing tangible came from it (which would be highly unlikely in any case; even Speed Racer, widely considered to be a box office bomb, had a $20M opening weekend; if if had cost $20M to make instead of $120M it'd be considered a huge success), proper marketing would insure that the film would not be like another tree that falls in a dense forest without anyone noticing.

South Park is definitely a good example of successful viral marketing, though it has the unfair advantage of Parker & Stone's genius!

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E. Allen
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Right Greg, and that's partly the part I tried to make with my earlier post. Study the story, its characters. Tie it to a niche. Mold the marketing around it. The thing about Cloverfield was that it was essentially a monster movie, but that the monster was largely phantom, concealed from view until towards the end of the movie, when even then we weren't sure what IT was. Some of the online viral campaign featured a mock commercial in Japanese for a fictional drink named Slusho!. It's phenomenal box office performance should insure that we'll gain a better understanding of it in the sequel.
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Noogy
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This is news to me, and that's an incredible story. However, I agree, this cannot be replicated. But a lot of studios will try.

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-Dean Dodrill

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Greg B
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Oh I'm sure there will be more successes like this one.

This project shows how bloated the studios can be and still not have the percentage of success this movie does.

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GWAStudios
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On G4tv they acually stated the movie costed 11 thousand dollars to create lol thats at the point where you just release all of your stress on your boss who gave you hell lmao

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GaryClair
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I saw the movie.. someone is walking around with $14 million in their back pocket.
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E. Allen
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Now it's at $103+ million and still counting.
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