Paranormal Activity Becomes Most Profitable Movie of All Time


Well if you needed any further proof that the Paranormal Activity clones are going to start getting greenlit in droves, this week the low budget horror flick apparently surpassed The Blair Witch Project to become the most profitable movie of all time. It’s not too surprising, especially considering that the movie supposedly cost way less to make than The Blair Witch Project in the first place (filmmaking tools are just getting more and more inexpensive). Still, it can be hard to fairly judge these things… a movie that cost $15,000 to shoot initially still has to pour tons of money into marketing and distribution before it hits the big screen.

According to The Wrap, Paranormal Activity has earned approximately $65 million thus far, which works out to a 433,900% return on investment! And it’s only going to make more money since it expands to more theatres again this weekend. That’s pretty crazy. Don Harris, executive VP of distribution for Paramount is quoted as saying that, “For Viacom, this movie is probably more important than one that does $300 million or $400 million.” So hopefully all the studio execs do take notice and consider giving more smaller productions a shot at getting a wide release. What do you think, is the success of Paranormal Activity a good thing for Hollywood? What other effects do you think it will have?

  • Napalm

    Brace yourself for the copycats folks.

  • swarez

    But the people who made it made far less back on it compared to Blair Witch. Blair was made for 60.000 dollars and was bought for a cool million bucks. Paranormal was made for 15.000 and was bought for 300.000. And Paramount spent 10 million in advertising as well, while Artisan used the web and word of mouth do most of the work for them.

  • swarez

    And what about the zombie film that was made for 90 bucks? He must have sold that for some amount and I’m sure percentage vise that’s way more than Paranormal or Blair made.

  • Chris

    O.o Here come the sequel!

  • brugalito

    really it made that much? anyways its good and bad i mean low budget movies like district 9 have done well but lets be real low budget isnt always great Paranormal activity was a horrible movie not scary and I got bored about 30 minutes in

  • Xu

    The Studios are always manufacturing tricky concept, only mention the initial budget without printing fee and advertisement fee is pretty tricky for me

  • I’m fine with copycats because I love this “Blair Witch” verite genre of film. It’s to bad all movies like this HAVE to have a backlash.

  • finaljoe

    A film grossing XXX times its budget does not make it the most profitable film of all time. So far Paranormal Activity’s profit is less than $ 100 million some way off the $1 billion profit Titanic brought in.

    As much as low budget film champions would like to claim otherwise a studio would much rather have a film like Titanic that cost $200 million that brings in $1.8 billion WW than a film that costs $15,000 that brings in $100 million.

  • TsengMao

    Actually that’s exactly what makes it the most profitable.

    And no, studios would rather have EVERY film cost 15,000 with the possibility of it making $100 million. Rather than spending $200 million with the possibility of $1.8 billion. How many $200M movies have actually made 1.8B? Answer: 1, only Titanic. That means Titanic made about 9x it’s cost, it is currently the only film to even come close to that compared to it’s budget.

    How many less than $100K films have grossed over 10x there budget? I can give you a dozen right now;

    El Mariachi
    The Blair Witch Project
    Paranormal Activity
    Deep Throat
    Super Size Me
    Night of the Living Dead
    The Brothers McMullen
    Last House on the Left

    I could also have listed about 20 foreign films that have done the same or better. It’s not a coincidence that films that don’t cost as much as Titanic, tend to be better films as well.

  • tyria martin

    i loved this movie it was great and it gave me a scare it was creepy and a little scary and i don’t care what anyone says

  • tyria martin

    well you just can’t watch 30 mins. of the movie and call it boring because the first part is boring but you have to watch the whole movie not just parts and it is scary you need to check your sources and where yah watched it at because i watched it in the theatres and the sound and the movie was really good booooo yahhhhhh :0 :) :p bammm burrrrrrrrrrrrrr GUCCI:)

  • tyria martin


  • tyria martin

    :) bLiNg BlAoW BuRr gucci

  • Jaxk

    Usually horror films don’t scare me, but this one did. It was worth every cent of my money! I would definitely watch it over again.

  • Paranormal Activity is the best horror movie of all time. Making approximately $65 million profit out of $15 thousand total cost is crazy. And it only took them 2 actresses and 2 actors.

  • john

    This movie really sucked, not scary at all,lame ,blah and boreing!

  • john

    clerks was better!!!

  • Ciniman

    At $30,000 000, District 9 wasn’t exactly “low budget”. Maybe “low-“er” budget, when compared to Avataar’s $237,000,000 budget. IMO “low budget” is under $100,000.
    Also, maybe it’s just me, but to spend a quarter billion on a movie is insane. That is more then then entire education budget of Nigeria. A country of over 150 million people!
    Star Wars (the original) was shot for $4,000,000. 2001 A Space Odyssey, $10,000,000. IMO these “NO budget” films are only going to make money when produced few & far between. Paranormal Activity was the only 1 that made real money since Blair Witch & before that was Clerks. I don’t think it will become a popular trend, or “the norm”. The majority of people are NOT going to shell out $10 for a ticket, just to watch a bunch of people running around with camcorders.
    To flood the market with cheap crappy flicks would be a mistake & maybe even turn people off cinema all together. Too much of anything is a bad thing. If there is not enough variety or selection of respectable budget/quality movies, people may opt to stay home & rent, or just watch TV. Or, listen to music, maybe buy a video game, or perhaps like the French, stuff their faces and make love.