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3 YEARS

Paramount Bets 'The Devil Inside' Is Its Next 'Paranormal Activity'

Paramount’s low-budget arm Paramount Insurge is hoping it has its next Paranormal Activity franchise, acquiring low-budget indie The Devil Inside by writer-director William Brent Bell.

Bell and producers Morris Paulson and Matthew Peterman made the supernatural thriller a year ago, shooting under the radar in Rome and Bucharest. But instead of spirits, the movie joins the burgeoning exorcism genre.

Told in - what else? - the documentary style, the story centers on a woman who has been led to believe her mother brutally murdered three people because she was clinically insane. After being told the murders occurred during an exorcism, she sets out to discover the truth. While documenting her experience with a film crew in Italy, she becomes involved in a series of unauthorized exorcisms. Bell wrote the script with Peterman.

Fernanda Andrade stars as the woman, with Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth and Suzan Crowley also in the cast. Brazil-born Andrade may be best known for appearing in the ABC Family mini-series Fallen.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider jointly brought the movie to Paramount and will now act as executive producers.

With only a six-figure budget, Paranormal Activity grossed $193.4 million at the worldwide box office (Paramount distributed in the U.S., but not overseas). Paranormal Activity 2, which Paramount distributed globally, grossed $171.6 million. A third movie is due this October.

The success of the films led to not only Paramount creating a division looking for small budget movies with huge upsides, it helped usher in a new age of the faux-documentary genre, known as "found footage" films.

CAA, which reps Bell and Peterman, helped broker the deal. Andrade is repped by Genesis Entertainment.