After the splendid marketing effort that brought the underdog "Paranormal Activity" a stunning $107 million at the U.S. box office, Oren Peli has decided to reunite with Paramount Pictures for his sophomore effort.
Variety reports Pell's "Area 51" was acquired for domestic release by Paramount late last week after beating out at least three other bidders for the project. While "Paranormal" cost only $11,000 and Paramount spent $1 million to acquire it (thereby making it a massive profit maker), "51" cost $5 million. That's still amazingly modest compared to the price of most studio productions. Peli finished filming the thriller three weeks ago and again utilizes the "found footage" technique that works so well for him creatively in "Paranormal."
Little is known about "Area 51" except that it features a relatively unknown cast whose curiosity leads them to the notorious government military base in the Nevada desert. What happens next is anyone's guess at this point.
Paramount did not supply a release date to the trade, but a summer or fall 2010 opening seems most likely. Whether they will utilized the "you demanded it" technique -- which won't work for every release -- is unclear.