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Well, this is a fine kettle of haunted fish. Paramount and Blumhouse's Paranormal Activity revival will skip theaters for an exclusive streaming rollout on Paramount+ sometime next month, Deadline has confirmed. The project — which has been described as an "unexpected retooling" — originally had a tentative release date of March 4, 2022.
The seventh installment in the found footage franchise that turned Blumhouse from a little-known indie banner into a massive Hollywood juggernaut was written by Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day, Freaky) and directed by William Eubank (Underwater). Specific plot details are still hiding under the blanket, but Tanya Giles (Chief Programming Officer, ViacomCBS Streaming) did reveal that the movie will be released alongside a special making-of documentary.
"A new Paranormal Activity from Paramount Players should bring fans an unexpected reimagining of the beloved horror franchise," Giles reportedly said during an appearance on the TCA press tour. "We’ll also be launching a documentary on the making of the Paranormal Activity feature. Both of which will be coming to the service in time for Halloween.”
Jason Blum and Oren Peli return as producers (Peli also wrote and directed the first movie back in 2007). Steven Schneider, who has also been with the franchise since the very beginning, steps back into the role of executive producer. The six big screen entries in the Paranormal Activity series have brought in nearly $900 million at the worldwide box office.
Sending high-profile titles directly to streaming has become a more tantalizing option amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly dampened theatrical ticket sales. It also, of course, provides a buzzy exclusive for Paramount's new streaming service. This tradeoff may be preferable for studios that want to avoid a logjam of upcoming tentpoles, but theater owners are hoping to see an eventual return to normalcy.
“There’s only one way to create a billion-dollar franchise,” AMC Theatres boss Adam Aron said during his opening remarks at CinemaCon in Las Vegas (via The Los Angeles Times). “Show movies in movie theaters first.”
“Let us be clear about one thing, today. Simultaneous release does not work. It doesn’t work for anyone,” added John Fithian, President and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners (aka NATO). “Theatrical windows won’t be what they were before, but they can’t be what they were in the pandemic.”