Proving there’s nothing like a little showmanship, combined with a brilliantly simple concept, to move a film, indie sales house IM Global has largely sold out on its micro-budget horror pic “Paranormal Activity.”
“In 3½ days since we screened it on Thursday night, we’ve probably seen sales volume 30,000 times the cost of the production budget,” IM Global topper Stuart Ford said. “This has been a mental market.”
Pic, by first-time helmer Oren Peli, was screened off market in Santa Monica’s Laemmle Theater to an invited audience of teen fans and bizzers. The line to get in reportedly stretched from Fourth Street to Second.
The supernatural thriller, about a couple trying to document poltergeist activity, preemed at Slamdance and was picked up for North America by DreamWorks. But IM Global did not offer it to distributors at Cannes or Toronto.
“It has been really hard resisting the temptation to sell this earlier. But we had the luxury of being able to wait and wanted to create the right conditions, get all the buyers together,” Ford said. The 29 deals amassed include Icon for the U.K., Wild Bunch for France, Filmauro for Italy, Icon for Australia, RCV for Benelux, Svensk Filmindustri for Scandinavia, Village Roadshow for Greece, On Pictures for Spain and Korea Screen for South Korea.
Deals do not allow local distribs to release the pic ahead of DreamWorks, and many territories are expected to combine to put together a multinational day-and-date outing — an effort that should help prevent the pic’s final twist from leaking too far into public awareness too quickly.
Ford said the company is holding four offers from Japanese distributors and buying consortia, and the finalized deal will also likely include rights for a local-language sequel.
The company aims to ink other local sequel or remake deals and will soon be introducing Peli’s next movie, “Area 51,” which IM describes as also being in the “claustrophobic terror” vein.