Earlier this month we told you about Oren Peli’s shaky cam follow-up to Paranormal Activity, Area 51. It’s about “three teens whose curiosity leads them to the notorious Area 51 portion of Nellis Air Force Base in the Nevada desert.” According to Variety (via Slash Film), thanks to a hefty seven-figure deal, U.S. distribution rights now belong to Paramount Pictures, the same studio that delivered Paranormal Activity.

Paramount will reunite with Paranormal Activity’s creative and financing team, Jason Blum will return to produce and Peli will continue to utilize the ‘found footage’ style. The biggest difference between this film and Paranormal, other than the whole alien thing, is the much larger budget. Paranormal came together for only $11,000, but Area 51 will cost just under $5 million.

The studio beat out as many as four other bidders for Area 51. Paramount Film Group president, Adam Goodman, played a significant role in the acquiring of Paranormal Activity as well as the film’s slow and very effective roll out into theaters, so it’s safe to say he had an edge on the competition. Paramount isn’t the only studio jumping on the Peli bandwagon; Area 51 sold distribution rights throughout the world except Japan and some Eastern European markets.

Principal photography wrapped about three weeks ago and Peli and Blum are about to head into postproduction. No release date has been set but expect Area 51 to hit theaters some time in 2010.

Reaction to the creation of Area 51 will likely be as split as that to Paranormal Activity. You either love it or hate it. I, for one, loved Paranormal Activity and can’t wait to see what Peli comes up with next. Paranormal Activity beat out Saw VI at the box office; could this mean the end of the Saw series and the rise of a Peli shaky cam Halloween tradition? Considering Peli is also developing Paranormal Activity 2 on top of Area 51, it’s likely. But the more important question is whether or not this method of filmmaking will become tiresome and less effective as more of its kind are released.

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