Made on a budget of $15,000?

It's not a misprint ... and it's closing in on a world-wide gross of a 1/2 BILLION dollars.

Previously studios turned up their noses at low buget movies considered to be '3rd Tier.' Major studios were interested in 1st Tier budgets of $50 million and above (usually way above) or more modest 2nd Tier budgets. However now, many of those same studios are now scrambling for scripts with budgets under $200,000.

Paramount Pictures, which bought distribution rights to 'Paranormal Activity' for about $350,000, and launched a new division dedicated to movies budgeting under $100,000." (Los Angeles Times, January 21, 2010)  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-midnight21-2010jan21,0,3672418.story

How was 'Paranormal' able to be made for $15,000?  The cast was only 4 actors, only one location, a house donated at no cost; and everybody worked for free with the hopes of sharing future profits. Sony picked up the film and put in an additional $35,000 in editing costs, and then the major cost of advertizing.

It's not the norm. A low budget film with 30 actors and several locations - and with cast and crew getting some pay could normally be completed around $400,000. The film, 'The Devil Inside' was made in Romania for $800,000, but grossed $23 million - in its first weekend.

Consider the financial power of the Horror genre in a comparison with the total US Domestic Theatre gross for the year's Academy Award for Best Picture, The Hurt Locker:

The Hurt Locker managed a relatively paltry $15.7 million. " (from BoxOfficeMojo)  Compare The Hurt Locker total gross of $15 million to Paranormal Activity's total gross of $141,541,385. (this gross is for ONLY US Theatres - NO Foreign sales, DVD, Television, etc.) 

Paranormal Activity, however is NOT an isolated example as can be viewed from the following link: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=supernaturalhorror.htm

Again, Paranormal Activity is not the norm, but compare The Hurt Locker to a horror genre film most people have never heard - Gin gwai- (English title - The Eye). The Eye played only 13 US theatres and grossed $512,049, as such, it made little or no money. But the opportunity to make a substantial net profit is in foreign sales. The Academy Award winner The Hurt Locker recently sold to Foreign sales for $11,000,000. The supernatural thriller The Eye grossed $11,652,965 in foreign sales.

Gin gwai, a practically unknown supernatural thriller released by a minor distributor (Palm Distributors) that played in only 13 US cities beats out an Academy Award winner in Foreign sales.


Paranormal Activity proved that an independent film can be made successfully - thanks to the changes in the film industry.