Paramount is riding on some huge success right now, having bought Paranormal Activity for $300,000 and spun it into a #1 box office hit, bringing in $61 million and counting. Doesn't it seem like a no-brainer that they'd jump right on director Oren Peli's next project, especially for the relatively low cost of $10 millIon?

Apparently not. In a New York Times story on Peli's next step, a Paramount rep confirms that they're not bidding on Area 51 Peli's new project about the famed home of extra-terrestrials. The movie cost $5 million to make, a huge leap up from Paranormal Activity, but some of the studios are still seeing it as too much of a risk, given that it'll be pretty much impossible to replicate the Paranormal phenomenon.

I'm convinced that Peli's next film will be good, or at least worth watching, because of the filmmaking skill on display in Paranormal Activity. Unlike The Blair Witch Project, which had shaky cams going willy nilly and only a basic mythology keeping the story going, Paranormal Activity succeeds because of meticulous filmmaking, use of tension and cleverly executed special effects. It doesn't scare you by disorienting you or convincing you that something is about to jump out from behind the corner; Peli structures the film so that tension builds with each scene, and even though you know he doesn't have the budget for real special effects, you're still convinced you might see something awful.

So even though Area 51 doesn't having studios fighting tooth and nail to distribute it, I'm confident it'll get out there somehow. It may wind up having the same dismal box office returns as Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, but I'm positive it won't be as bad.

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