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Following the financial success of such low-budget efforts as Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside, some studios are now looking for genre pictures that can be made cheaply, but could pay off big. This kind of thinking has led Paramount to team with J.J. Abram's Bad Robot to produce the sci-fi script The God Particle. Of course Abrams—true to form—is refusing to comment on the project; however, Vulture has not only uncovered the deal but also the movie's logline.
As you may have guessed from its catchy title, the screenplay—penned by Oren Uziel—was inspired by the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator that some fear could cause a black hole that could well end the Earth. The God Particle begins with this fear being fully realized, as the planet appears to vanish before the bewildered eyes of an orbiting American space station crew. Seemingly alone in the galaxy, their fear reaches new heights when their radar discovers a European spacecraft, which could be "their salvation, or a harbinger of doom."
Paramount hopes to produce the space-set feature for only $5 million, which suggests that Paramount's micro-budget division Insurge Pictures, which distributed The Devil Inside and The Loved Ones, will release The God Particle. However, with this meager budget, Paramount can't likely afford Abrams as a director, but with Bad Robot producing, it's safe to expect the film won't feel low-budget.
This is actually a really encouraging development. Sure, The Devil Inside was loathed by critics and audiences alike, but it was a $1 million feature that went on to earn more than $101 million worldwide despite its horrendous word of mouth. Paramount's thought process seems to be, 'Imagine how much money we would have made if it was actually good!'
While recent sci-fi releases Battleship and Prometheus carry massive budgets that necessitate a huge opening weekend to prove profitable, these smaller genre features can be given time to find their audience, and so can be riskier than your typical Hollywood fare. As to how such a small budget will impact this sci-fi film's requisite special effects, let's hope Bad Robot looks to Duncan Jones' Moon for inspiration, as that incredible and mind-bending sci-fi thriller also had a $5 million price tag. It's a tall order to be as good as Moon, but surely the Bad Robot team can make that happen.