Now that Paramount's Demand It! site for Oren Peli's sleeper hit horror flick, Paranormal Activity has officially hits its goal of a million demands, Paramount Pictures just announced what Shock knew a week ago (but weren't allowed to report), that the studio will open the movie nationwide on October 16.
What the press release doesn't mention is what we also knew exclusively earlier this week, that the studio has already been making arrangements to go even wider on October 23, adding another 1000 theaters to the number of theaters where it's opening this coming Friday. That decision could put the movie directly into competition with Lionsgate's seemingly unstoppable horror franchise Saw VI.
Based on very early Friday estimates, Peli's low-budget movie is reportedly on its way to making over $5 million in its first weekend in limited release in just 159 theaters. That is a huge amount of business, possibly enough to put the movie into the Top 5 for the weekend.
With the amount of buzz the movie is generating, one can expect it will do similarly well in its first nationwide weekend, which may be why Paramount has already been working on making sure they can go even wider the following weekend. (Note: This was the plan earlier this week, and it might change suddenly due to the movie's immense success this weekend as Paramount might try to get more of those theaters on Friday, rather than waiting.)
Of course, what that means for the two other horror movies that had already been scheduled for those weeks--Screen Gems' remake of The Stepfather and the aforementioned sixth "Saw" movie--is another question. Neither of the other studios had an inkling of any sort of potential horror competition when they booked those dates and Paramount's sleeper horror hit might wind up putting a kibosh on both of them.
Let us know what you think of these developments, and we'll keep you posted on whether those plans change.