‘Paranormal’s’ Peli Readies ‘Area 51’

Director gets much bigger budget for his next found-footage feature.

Last Updated: October 6, 2009 @ 11:49 AM

With his grassroots horror film “Paranormal Activity” selling out midnight shows and expanding to mainstream theatrical runs all over the country this weekend, filmmaker Oren Peli is set to start production next week on another found-footage-themed scary movie, “Area 51.”

The Paramount-distributed film will follow three teenagers who set out to explore the legendary Area 51 air base in the Nevada desert and, of course, get more than they bargained for.
Like “Paranormal Activity,” the film will feature unknown talent and be produced by Jason Blum under his Blumhouse Productions banner. IM Global, the international sales agent for “Paranormal,” will also handle foreign matters for “Area 51.”
However, unlike his previous movie, Peli – a former Israeli videogame designer – will have substantially more money to work with than the $11,000 he spent to make “Paranormal.” The movie will be co-financed by the Aramid Entertainment Fund.
“Oren has already proven that he has a unique gift for using technology and our inherent fear of the unknown to tell simple yet emotionally compelling stories,” Blum said in a statement. “In this case, his canvas is just a little larger.”

After “Paranormal” yielded $535,000 over the weekend playing midnight shows at 33 locations, Paramount will expand its run Friday to include 40 cities with the film running all hours of the day.