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Producer Betsy Schechter Launches NY-Based Storyville Entertainment

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 1:50pm PST

Storyville logoVeteran TV producer Betsy Schechter has launched Storyville Entertainment, a full-service New York-based production company that will create content for TV, film, branded and multimedia outlets. Schechter, whose credits include producing A&E’s Paranormal State and the syndie dating show Shipmates, will serve as president of the new shingle, which already is in production on a music-based documentary series for MTV International and in development on nonscripted and scripted projects for A&E, TNT, H2, MTV International, Animal Planet and National Geographic. It also is collaborating on a scripted series with Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum. Caroline Christopher, formerly director of development for National Geographic Television and among those who helped launch Peacock Productions, has been hired as VP Development and Production. She will oversee Storyville’s development team, creating nonfiction series, specials and branded content. “Storyville serves as a hub for creativity regardless of the genre and platform, everything from non-fiction to scripted to digital to reality,” said Schechter. “What matters most and what will define our projects is that at the core are solid characters and great storytelling with a distinct point of view.”

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Paramount Dates ‘Paranormal Activity 5′ & Titles Latino Spin-Off ‘Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones’

Paramount is setting details for its next two Paranormal Activity franchise outings. The newly titled Latino-focused spin-off is now called Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and will debut January 3, 2014. The film helmed by series scribe Christopher Landon had originally been slated for an October 25, 2013 release but that spot will now be filled by comedy Paramount and MTV Films’ Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. Meanwhile, franchise sequel Paranormal Activity 5 will open in time for next year’s Halloween on October 24, 2014.

Related: ‘Paranormal Activity’ Latino Spinoff Gets January 4 Date

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WME Signs ‘Paranormal Activity’ Helmer Oren Peli

By | Wednesday March 13, 2013 @ 11:13am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli. Peli leaves CAA, shaking loose from that agency after longtime agents Martin Spencer and Adam Kanter moved to Jeff Berg’s Resolution. Peli is a big piece of business, at the forefront of the micro-budget found-footage horror craze. He produced and oversaw the sequels of Paranormal Activity, produced and scripted Chernobyl Diaries, and produced Insidious and the Rob Zombie-directed Lords Of Salem. Peli most recently wrote and directed Area 51. Peli also co-created The River for ABC last year. He continues to be lawyered by Linda Lichter.

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‘Paranormal Activity’ Producer Scares Up New Haunted House Business

By | Thursday September 6, 2012 @ 5:38am PDT
Mike Fleming

(Los Angeles, September 6, 2012) Blumhouse Productions, the multi-media production company behind highly-successful and terrifying movies like the Paranormal Activity franchise, Insidious and the upcoming Sinister, announced today The Blumhouse of Horrors (, an innovative and frightening haunted house experience in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

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Lionsgate UK To Distribute Icon Titles, But No News On Library Deal

Lionsgate UK today confirmed its new distribution pact with Icon UK, saying it will handle the release of all of the latter’s titles moving forward. The deal is for rights to all films to come, but, for the moment at least, the Icon library is not included. Speculation has been that Lionsgate would take over the library, which includes PreciousMan On Wire, A Single Man, Paranormal Activity and others. Lionsgate UK already handles the home entertainment rights for the Miramax and Nu Image libraries and recently entered a multi-year licensing deal with Netflix ahead of the streaming service’s 2012 UK launch. Icon’s releases in 2011 have included Jodie Foster’s The Beaver and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Lionsgate will now handle the release of Winding Refn’s next picture, Only God Forgives, along with Walter Salles’ On The Road, Adam Wingard’s You’re Next and the very English Postman Pat: The Movie. Read More »

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Universal Makes First-Look Deal With Jason Blum Of ‘Paranormal Activity’ And ‘Insidious’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jason Blum will bring the studio into the low-budget but often high-gross world of genre films. Universal Pictures has made a 3-year first-look deal with Blum and his Blumhouse Productions which produced the Paranormal Activity franchise, and followed that up with Insidious, the James Wan-directed thriller that has already become one of the most profitable films of 2011. A sequel seems inevitable.

The original Paranormal Activity cost about $15,000 and grossed $193 million. The first sequel cost $3 million and grossed $177 million worldwide and the third film debuts Oct. 21. Insidious cost $1.5 million and grossed $81 million worldwide and is still rolling out. This guy is minting money. He’s producing the latest installment of the fright franchise Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes for Dimension Films, produced the Barry Levinson-directed eco-horror film The Bay, The River for ABC and the Jay Chandresakar-directed comedy Baby Makers. He is producing the Oren Peli-directed Area 51 for Paramount Pictures, as well as The Lords of Salem, with Rob Zombie directing. Blum’s also an exec producer on the John Hillcoat-directed The Wettest County in the World. This amounts to an aggressive move into the low-budget area for Universal, which, if anything, is known for spending generously on its slates. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: James Wan’s ‘Insidious’

Mike Fleming

Upstart distributor FilmDistrict has issued a new trailer for Insidious, the horror film by original Saw writer-director team of James Wan and Leigh Whannell, produced by Paranormal Activity’s Oren Peli, Jason Blum and Steven Schneider. The film, which looks like a good old fashioned haunted house movie, opens April 1.

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Paramount’s Insurge Makes Its First Micro-Budget Buy

Mike Fleming

Paramount Insurge, the division formed to generate micro-budget movies following the studio’s success with Paranormal Activity, has made its first acquisition. Insurge just acquired an untitled pic by director and co-writer William Brent Bell for worldwide distribution (it had the working title The Devil Inside but studio says it might change). Par-based Lorenzo di Bonaventura will be exec producer with Paranormal Activity‘s Steven Schneider. Faith is no protection for a young woman whose mother is accused in the mysterious murders of three religious figures. Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth and Suzan Crowley star. The film is produced by Morris Paulson and Matt Peterman, who wrote the script with Bell. CAA and Automatik Entertainment’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones brokered the deal. Sierra/Affinity sold international rights. Filmmakers are repped by CAA and Generate, Andrade by Genesis Entertainment Partners.

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ABC Takes To ‘The River’ With ‘Paranormal Activity’ Filmmaker Oren Peli

By | Thursday September 2, 2010 @ 2:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

You thought a suburban home was scary.  How about the Amazon river? Oren Peli, the writer-director of the indie phenomenon Paranormal Activity, is bringing to primetime The River, a cinema verite-style thriller drama in the vein of Paranormal Activity set on a mysterious river. After a heated bidding between ABC and NBC, the project is close to landing at ABC with a rich put pilot commitment. The TV division of DreamWorks, the studio that discovered Israeli-born video game designer Peli and his $15,000 supernatural thriller Paranormal Activity that ended up grossing almost $200 million worldwide, is producing with ABC Studios. Peli hatched the idea for the project with veteran TV writer Michael R. Perry (Law & Order: SVU) who penned the upcoming Paranormal Activity sequel. Perry is writing the pilot script, with Peli possibly directing. Peli also is executive producing with his producing partners Jason Blum and Steven Schneider as well as Perry and DreamWorks TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. According to one description of the project floating around, The River follows the story of a famed adventuter/tv personality who goes missing and is presumed dead deep in the Amazon. His friends and crew go to look for him on their state-of-the-art research vessel. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Last Exorcism’

By | Friday July 9, 2010 @ 4:27am PDT
Mike Fleming

Lionsgate is hoping it has the next Paranormal Activity in this low-budget thriller about an exorcist with a crisis of conscience. The film is populated by unknowns and, once  Hostel helmer Eli Roth signed on as a producer, the budget was covered through foreign pre-sales. Lionsgate later acquired it in a bidding battle. It opens August 27.

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