Latinos turn out for 'Paranormal Activity'

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LOS ANGELES — Paramount Pictures’ wildly successful horror movie franchise “Paranormal Activity” gets a fourth supernatural spin this weekend, and if it follows the pattern of the earlier films the box office will be bolstered by Latino moviegoers.

The Latino audience has seen the three previous “Paranormal Activity” films in disproportionate numbers compared with the national population. In international territories, the franchise has performed especially well in Spanish-speaking countries.

The three preceding “Paranormal Activity” films, each of which offer twists on the found-footage style of horror storytelling, have delivered some of the best returns on investment in modern Hollywood history. Made on shoestring budgets (the first film, released theatrically in 2009, cost about $15,000, while Friday’s latest sequel was budgeted just more than $6 million), the “Paranormal” films so far have averaged just under $100 million in domestic release and have proved equally popular overseas, which is rare for horror films.

Just as Paramount starts bagging this weekend’s windfall from “Paranormal Activity 4,” the studio will begin production on a spinoff, “The Oxnard Tapes.” That film will be cast with Latino actors and aimed even more directly at that audience, although the spinoff will be largely in English. “They really love supernatural stories,” Jason Blum, a producer on all four “Paranormal Activity” films, said of the Latino audience for the films.

Studio executives say courting that audience can be easier than reaching the general population because advertising can be narrowly targeted. But just as devoted spectators like young fan boys will do, Latino moviegoers can be quick to judge (and reject) a movie if they feel it comes up short.

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