Like it or not, the Paranormal Activity franchise is here to stay.
Paramount's low-budget cash cow has been providing reliable thrills to horror buffs around the world for the last four years. While cynics and horror snobs are quick to label the films as corny and contrived, the masses continue to eat them up. Critics might as well stay home as well. The fact that Paranormal Activity 4 currently has a weak 33% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes will not stop it from raking in tons of cash this weekend.
North America is where the franchise has made the bulk of its money. 2009's Paranormal Activity made $107.9 million domestically compared to $85.4 million internationally. 2010's Paranormal Activity 2 is the only film in the franchise to perform better internationally: $92.5 million abroad vs. $84.8 million domestically. 2010's Paranormal Activity 3 made $104 million domestically and $97 million internationally, setting a franchise record with $201 million worldwide. That could all change with Paranormal Activity 4.
2012 is full of high-profile sequels that topped their predecessors' international tallies. The Dark Knight Rises has taken in $630.9 million internationally—a vast improvement over The Dark Knight's $468.6 million international haul. Ice Age: Continental Drift boasts a staggering $707.4 million international cume—and it's still going—compared to $687.1 million for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Most recently, Taken 2 passed the entire international haul of its predecessor in about two weeks. Taken 2 currently has more than $135 million in the bank internationally, while Taken ended its international run with $78.8 million.
Paranormal Activity 4 could be next. Paramount reports that the horror flick will be playing in 29 territories overseas this weekend. Key spots to keep an eye on are the UK, Australia, Germany, Russia and Brazil. India gets PA4 on October 26. Japan will have to wait until November 1. There is no date set for China.
Posting strong international receipts is quickly becoming the most reliable way to get a sequel made. Since PA4 is being pushed aggressively overseas, it's safe to say that we'll see a Paranormal Activity 5 next year and probably Paranormal Activity 6 the year after that. Sorry, cynics.