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Maker of Year’s Most Profitable Movie Can’t Catch a Break

Now that Oren Peli's Blair Witch–y camcorder-thriller Paranormal Activity has turned a $10,000 shooting budget and a $10 million marketing one into $63 million at the box office, you'd probably think the director would have an easy time convincing some checkbook-waving studio to snap up the domestic rights for his currently shooting next movie. Well, you couldn't possibly be more wrong, you idiot. Peli's asking price is a hilariously low (in Hollywood) "$10 million or more," and he hasn't yet landed a buyer.

The Times' Michael Cieply reports today that Peli's upcoming Area 51 has attracted sniffs from "at least six companies, including several major studios," though he's been trying to sell it for weeks. Among the uninterested are Paramount and DreamWorks, the studios behind Activity. 51's relatively high $10 million price tag (Paramount and DW bought PA for just $300,000) would cut into profits and prevent the winning bidder from marketing it the same way as Peli's current hit. Cieply also notes the problems Daniel Myrick and Nia Vardalos had following up The Blair Witch Project and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We're sure Peli will pawn Area 51 off on some studio soon, but we hope not before his story serves as a lesson to young filmmakers out there foolishly considering making a wildly successful movie on a shoestring budget during a time of recession.

Following ‘Paranormal,’ What Price Scary Glory? [NYT]

Photo: Getty Images