After Paranormal Activity, Paramount Plans To Stay In The Micro-Budget Film Biz

Every time a really small film makes a really large amount of money, people start to get ideas. With Paranormal Activity still raking in dollars for Paramount, the studio is pushing the idea of spending a million bucks each year on ten to twenty small films. The budget of each of these films would be no more than $100k. Place your bets now as to whether we'll ever see any of these little projects, and how long this will even continue to seem like a good idea to studio execs.

Variety's report says that the money will come out of the studio's overall production budget, and that both unknown and established filmmakers could take part. The trade further says that there's no theatrical release plan in place at this point for this program, but that the small films could be remade with larger budgets. Granted, a lot of indie producers would argue that $100k is 'micro-budget'. They'd kill to make a film for that much, instead of $10k. But when it's an outfit like Paramount, used to working in the $40-200m range, that counts.

There's a lot to be said for having something like this as a sort of pilot program. But I wonder how long this will realistically go on. A year? It's one of those good ideas that's easy to agree upon with Paranormal Activity still in theatres. Six months from now, will the studio actually follow through on this plan, or will it be allowed to quietly die? I'd bet on the latter, sadly, unless a film or two is quickly produced that convinces the studio should carry on. I'd love also to know what the mechanism for greenlighting any particular film will be and how much oversight the studio will have. This is a very cool idea, but studio machinery being what it is, there are so many ways it could stall out or go wrong.