The supernatural horror film, Paranormal Activity: Marked Ones, has gone head-to-head against a number of blockbuster giants recently, including The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Anchorman: The Legend Continues and Frozen.
Paramount Pictures’ Paranormal Activity: Marked Ones was released on Jan. 3, 2014 to a relatively mixed reception. The low-budget horror flick was the only release over the weekend, topping off the Friday box office with around $8.7 million, and projected takings for the weekend of between $17 and $19 million. Relative to the previous two iterations from the Paranormal Activity franchise, which raked in around twice the afore-mentioned figure, these earnings may appear, somewhat, on the low side.
However, with the film costing just $5 million to make, the earnings are still considered respectable. In addition, it is conjectured that snowstorms along the East Coast of the United States could have been partly responsible for diminished ticket sales, particularly in major cities such as New York.
From the date of writing, film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 45 percent of critics awarded Marked Ones positive review scores, with 49 reviews having been tallied, thus far, and an average review score of 4.8/10.
TIME described the setting as “livelier,” helping to rejuvenate the staid found-footage formula. Meanwhile, The Washington Post remained unconvinced by Paranormal Activity‘s “new direction,” featuring changes to the storyline that have led many critics to describe Marked Ones as being more akin to a spinoff than a sequel. They describe the found-footage technique as an “annoying gimmick,” before going on to explain how the film backs the series into a narrative corner. However, they praised writer and director Christopher Landon’s ability to crank up the scares, seemingly, managing to top its predecessors.
The film’s main protagonists include Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz) – two teenage friends that encounter a world of dark magic and terror. Commencing at a party in Oxnard, California, the duo eventually head off to investigate the mysterious death of a woman in the apartment beneath the
party-goers. Grabbing a camera, as per the typical Paranormal Activity formula, several members of the party decide to investigate her vacant residence. However, after Jesse sustains a bite mark, an otherworldly fate befalls him.
Meanwhile, Disney’s animated film Frozen continues to dominate cinemas, earning $6.8 million on Friday, and continues to creep closer towards a domestic total of $300 million. The Desolation of Smaug has now earned a domestic total of $218.5 million, while the much-anticipated Anchorman: The Legend Continues breached its $100 million domestic on Saturday.
Paranormal Activity 5 – originally penned for release on Oct. 25, 2013 – will debut in October, 2014. It is expected that Katie Featherston, who was one of the main protagonists from the original Paranormal Activity, will reprise her role as Katie. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Jason Pagan and Andrew Deutschman will pen the next installment of the franchise, which has cumulatively brought in over $700 million worldwide.
By James Fenner