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"Paranormal Activity" Succeeds in Giving Audiences Sleepless Nights

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This past weekend, the new horror movie sensation Paranormal Activity did its best to scare the wits out of people (read our review here). In an unusual release strategy, the film only played in 13 college towns, where the film only showed in late-night screenings on Friday and Saturday. The hope is for the college students in these areas to build a hype that would create a demand in other cities later on. It worked splendidly, leading to an expansion.

Paramount reports that all showings of the film were sold out, save for the Saturday night one in State College, PA which was at 75% capacity—and that's due to a football game going on the same night. With such a positive buzz, Paranormal Activity plans on hitting 20 more cities later this week. Get ready if you're in one of these cities:

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, DC/Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Houston, LA, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Tampa.

It's not a surprising list, given the population of those cities. I kind of wished they would stick to sleepy college towns just to build a cult following and continue the atmosphere, but perhaps they're eager to launch this thing proper.

The reaction from those who've seen it are positive so far. Legend has it, when the movie was still in DreamWorks' hands a year and a half ago, Steven Spielberg brought a copy home to his estate. Shortly after he saw it, his bedroom door locked from the inside, forcing him to call in a locksmith. Spielberg was so freaked out by this that he was convinced the movie is haunted and brought it back to the studio in a garbage bag. I wonder if that experience coupled with the success of the film would lead to Spielberg hiring Oren Peli to direct a Poltergeist remake. Wait—what have I done?!

Meanwhile, Paramount is hard at work building an online presence, as well. @TweetYourScream is their official Twitter account, collecting reactions from fans. We've been compiling Twitter reactions on our own, too. While most of them reiterate the same thing ("OMG scariest movie evar!"), here are ten of the more interesting ones. First up is from Juno director and celebrity tweeter Jason Reitman.

@JasonReitman Fuck Paranormal Activity was scary. Freaked out whole gang. Felt bad for the folks who went home alone. Keeping my MagLight near the bed.

@Tsukihysteria I was telling my mom about the movie paranormal activity. She's clairvoyant (I'm sort of am too) and well, she freaked out and left the room

@sleepyskunk 'Paranormal Activity' is what Spielberg expected out of Tobe Hooper when he hired him 27 yrs ago. Then he directed the damn thing himself…

@coreyjames17 "Paranormal Activity" was the scariest movie I have ever seen...I don't really want to talk about it

@schadenfreudian has never heard a movie audience collectively whimper like he did tonight at Paranormal Activity. Sleep tight, everyone.

@thatssojeff Just saw a preview screening of Paranormal Activity. My ears are ringing from all the screams.

@AnubisibunA movie 'Paranormal Activity' seems it might be good. By good, I mean freaky. By freaky, I mean scary. By scary, I mean it'll scare the wife.

@rickyrios it was literally the scariest movie I've seen since police academy. I gave up sleeping.

@iNfamyy man..this is sad. I am almost 20..and I can't sleep because of 'Paranormal Activity' that shit was too scary..

@isamisis Should Paranormal Activity be played in more theatres? I'm not so sure. It sounds like a remake of The Burbs starring Tom Hanks but deadly.

In appreciation of all the support, director Oren Peli made this video message expressing his gratitude; from inside the same house Paranormal Activity was shot in, it looks like.

Sep
28
2009
Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for Artboiled.com.

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