I guess someone at Paramount wasn't paying attention to our little list of franchises that should take a break in 2012, as they've recently confirmed that Paranormal Activity 4 is in the works for later this year. No specific release date was put forth, but considering the series' history, a late-October release is basically guaranteed. This year, Paranormal Activity 3 had relatively little competition in the horror genre in October, without a Saw movie to go up against, but in 2012, it'll face a few more challenges, with Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D and Halloween 3D both popping up in the month, and Taken 2 and Ruben Fleischer's Gangster Squad also fighting it out for the more mainstream audiences.
Likewise unknown are the films' plot, time setting, writers, and directors. Directors of PA3, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, told MTV News that they'd be on board for PA4 if Paramount wanted them back, but it doesn't sound like that offers has been extended yet. Normally, not having this stuff lined up 10 months before a movie comes out might be a bit of a concern, but given the production values of the Paranormal Activity films and the relative lack of CGI needed to complete them, I wouldn't be surprised if you could start shooting the movie in early September and still have it ready for a late October release. That's an exaggeration, but probably not by much.
The PA entry was the only one on that list that I wrote, and I still stand by the assumption that Paramount should take a year off and let the franchise recharge its batteries a bit. I am, of course, not a production executive, so Paramount is probably correct in getting the money while the getting's good and riding their horse until it keels over dead in 2014 or so. PA3 did make more money than either of its predecessors, but again, that was likely due to a relative lack of competition. The Saw franchise started to see a notable dip in revenues after the third film, with IV, V, VI marking a nosedive in revenues, with only 2010's 3D entry bumping up a bit (although still marking it only the sixth most successful film out of the seven).
You have to be careful about audience burnout when you start cranking out what is (let's be honest) effectively the same film year after year, but given how goddamn cheap the PA movies are, we might see one come out every year from now until the end of the decade so long as they make more than five million dollars.
Are you still in the running to see Paranormal Activity 4 this year? Getting burned out? Would your choice be influenced by the difference between seeing another prequel (say, Katie and Kristi as teenagers), or seeing the plot threads picking up after the end of Paranormal Activity 2?