Paramount Exploring Micro-Budget Filmmaking

Paramount Exploring Micro-Budget FilmsGiven the enormous success of Paranormal Activity, the studio who ushered the little movie that could into the spotlight is now seeking more young talent who have something truly special to offer.

According to Variety Paramount’s launching an initiative that will spend $1 million annually to develop and produce microbudget films.

[The] move, unveiled Thursday, is designed to place between 10 and 20 projects in development by the end of next year with no individual budget topping $100,000.

Paramount Film Group prexy Adam Goodman, promoted to the slot in June, cooked up the plan in the successful wake of “Paranormal,” made for $15,000 and grossing more than $100 million domestically.

Goodman indicated the funds, which will come out of the studio’s overall production budget, will be targeted at both unknowns and established filmmakers with the goal of increasing the studio’s ability to find new voices and ideas. In addition, the initiative’s aimed at giving Paramount a more diverse portfolio of titles at a time when Hollywood’s devoting most of its resources to megabudget pics, such as Par’s “Transformers” and “Star Trek” franchises.

The studio hasn’t set a target of how many projects would receive a theatrical release. The microbudget projects could also conceivably be remade with conventional budgets.

Paramount originally planned to release “Shutter Island” in early October but, citing costs, decided in late August to push that title back to February and opted for “Paranormal Activity” instead.

Par was able to make effective use of a low-cost grassroots release strategy, starting with a dozen midnight screenings of Oren Peli’s horror-thriller in college towns before launching a gradual rollout that built on strong word of mouth.”

Pretty nifty. Whether you liked Paranormal Activity or not, it certainly has changed the way Hollywood looks at the little guy, and no matter how you slice it — that’s a very good thing!

Uncle Creepy

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Steve Barton

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  • AngryChairr

    I’m really amazed more studios haven’t learned from the Corman School of Film Distribution. Why spend $10 million on a Saw sequel that continues to see diminishing returns when you can make between 5 to 10 movies for the same price? Even if the movies suck, you throw them straight-to-DVD and you’ll recoup the costs pretty quickly. Even if I hated PA as a movie, it’s nice to see it’s helping studios hearken back to the exploitation days when someone like Corman would raise money and then toss off a few cheap horror movies to turn a quick buck.

    • hegemon13

      Because $10 million is still darned cheap in the movie world, and the Saw movies are still a guaranteed cash return. They pretty much market themselves, and they can be made relatively cheaply. Sure, that return may be diminishing, but it is still profit, and no studio is going to kill a sure thing for a risky venture.

      A better approach would be to trim $10 million or so off their next $200 million-dollar, high-risk blockbuster to spread across several small-budget films.

  • Minion

    This is great news! Might be a chance for some fresh talent to show what they’re made of and stick it to the endless barrage of derivative films and $300 million projects that suck but still turn a profit.