‘Paranormal Activity’ was one of the biggest horror movies of the past decade. It launched a lucrative franchise, re-popularised the ‘found footage’ format, and helped establish producers Blumhouse as the predominant force in contemporary horror cinema.
However, to the surprise of some, it did not launch its director Oren Peli into a similarly high-profile career. It turns out there’s a good reason for that: Peli isn’t interested.
Speaking to fellow horror director Mick Garris in podcast Post Mortem (quotes via Bloody Disgusting), the 47-year old Israeli-American filmmaker explains that, while he has produced movies and TV since ‘Paranormal Activity,’ he has no desire direct again.
“I kind of wanted to just kind of cash out and be done. I got sucked into [producing] the ‘Paranormal Activity’ sequels, then I had lunch with Steven Spielberg and he said, ‘Let’s do a TV show together.’ And we did ‘The River.'”
Made in 2007, although not released until 2009, ‘Paranormal Activity’ was shot in Peli’s own home for $15,000. It wound up making $193 million at the worldwide box office, and as such is thought to be the single most profitable film of all time.
Peli went on to produce ‘Chernobyl Diaries,’ ‘The Bay’ and ‘Lords of Salem,’ but has directed only one more feature in ‘Area 51.’ He even turned down the chance to direct ‘The Conjuring,’ which became a huge hit for director James Wan, and launched a franchise.
While Peli does not 100% rule out ever directing again, he makes it very clear that it isn’t something he’s eager to return to, having found it a difficult line of work.
“At this point, I would have to be incredibly bored. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I would have to love something so much that I’m gonna give up my peaceful life now, and go back to the crazy world of directing. I’m very happy not to have to deal with [that] these days.”
‘Paranormal Activity’ spawned five sequels, and the series wound up grossing over $890 million at the global box office before concluding with 2015’s ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.’