Deadline Hollywood reports that Universal Pictures has renewed interest in a movie based on the classic board game Ouija. The project, which was canceled once due to budget constraints, will now restart with lower, more reasonable budget expectations. Originally, McG was directing with a budget of over $100 million.
The new team involved includes Jason Blum, who produced the ultra-low budget "Paranormal Activity" and "Insidious," and Platinum Dunes, the studio that remade "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Amityville Horror" on the cheap as well. All four of those movies brought in a large box office despite the cash backing the filmmakers worked with.
"Paranormal Activity" and "Insidious"
There are many good reasons not to shoot "Ouija" like "Paranormal Activity." For one thing, the found footage genre is growing tired. While the style usually allows filmmakers to recapture their budget easily, audiences have been less willing to dish out money for these movies lately.
A movie like "Ouija" comes with a stigma anyway, seeing as how it's based on a board game. Giving it the found footage treatment might doom it from the start.
However, Blum also used his low budget ideals on "Insidious." While the movie was not as low budget as "Paranormal Activity," is was made for less than $2 million and still retained a recognizable cast, with Patrick Wilson ("Watchmen"), Rose Byrne ("Bridesmaids"), and Lin Shaye ("There's Something About Mary") starring.
The difference here is that "Insidious" was an original movie idea and carried a sufficient level of scares thanks to director James Wan ("Saw"). "Ouija" would have to remain an original enough idea while hitting the planned low budget to succeed at the box office.
That is where Platinum Dunes comes in. It is almost shocking to know the production studio that Michael Bay oversees remains known for low-budget horror flicks. What makes Platinum Dunes a perfect fit here is its mastery of the art of taking an old idea and making it fresh. Remakes of movies like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "The Hitcher," and "Friday the 13th" were made at a low budget, ensuring they would make a profit.
The only movie with a larger budget Platinum Dunes created was the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" remake, which cost an estimated $35 million. Everything else came in under $20 million. The Deadline article lists the price range for "Ouija" at about $5 million, which matches well with Blum's sensibilities but is still a quarter of what Platinum Dunes normally spends on pictures.
What the filmmakers have to do is find a way to make a horror movie like this work with such a minuscule amount of money. The only way to achieve that is through creativity and a good story. A well-told story trumps all and, from the look of their prior work, it appears Universal put the right team in charge of this new movie effort.
Check out the "The Hunger Games" live red carpet premiere on March 12 only on Yahoo! Movies.
- Platinum Dunes
- Paranormal Activity