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Paranormal Activity 3
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Henry Joost
  • Ariel Schulman
Written byChristopher B. Landon
Produced by
  • Jason Blum
  • Akiva Goldsman
  • Oren Peli
  • Steven Schneider
  • Lauren Bittner
  • Chris Smith
  • Chloe Csengery
  • Jessica Tyler Brown
CinematographyMagdalena Gorka
Edited byGregory Plotkin
Blumhouse Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 14, 2011 (2011-10-14) (Rio de Janeiro Festival)
  • October 21, 2011 (2011-10-21) (United States)
Running time
84 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million[2]
Box office$207 million[3]

Paranormal Activity 3 is a 2011 American found footage supernatural horror film, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. It is the third (chronologically, the first) installment of the Paranormal Activity series and serves as a prequel, mostly set 18 years prior to the events of the first two films. It was released in theaters on October 21, 2011.[4] Paranormal Activity 3 was also Joost and Schulman's first horror film.

The film broke financial records upon release, setting a new record for a midnight opening for a horror film ($8 million) and the best opening day for a horror film in the United States ($26.2 million).


In 2005, Katie delivers a box of old videotapes to her pregnant sister Kristi, and her husband Daniel Rey, which holds footage of young Katie and Kristi with their mother, Julie, and her boyfriend Dennis. A year later, Kristi and Daniel's house is ransacked and the tapes are missing.

In 1988, a young Katie and Kristi are living with their mother Julie and her boyfriend Dennis. Dennis notices that since Kristi's imaginary friend Toby appeared, strange things have been happening around the house. Dennis and Julie attempt to make a sex tape, but are interrupted by an earthquake. The camera shows dust fall from the ceiling and land on an invisible figure in the room. While reviewing the footage, Dennis notices the strange incident. His friend Randy suggests that Dennis place cameras throughout the house to capture any other incidents. That night in the girls' bedroom, Kristi wakes up and talks to someone off-camera. When Dennis questions her the following day, Kristi tells him it was Toby. Later on, Kristi has a tea party with Toby. But, when Katie walks in and calls Kristi a baby for having imaginary friends, and goes in the closet to look for Toby, the door slams shut on its own.

Dennis and Julie later hire a babysitter named Lisa to watch the kids, but she abruptly leaves after the couple gets home. Before that, a blanket with what looks like someone's in it immediately drops down empty and footsteps are heard running away. The next night, Kristi wakes up to Toby and tells him they're not friends anymore. This causes Toby to throw an off-screen fit. Dennis discovers a strange symbol, (From what Toby did,) in the girls' closet the following morning. And later finds the same symbol in a book about demonology. When Kristi becomes ill, Julie and Dennis take her to the hospital. Katie is left home with Randy, and they play Bloody Mary in the girls' bathroom. When nothing happens, Katie insists they try again. Randy is then attacked and discovers a large scratch on his torso. They try to leave the bathroom, but a black figure moves past the door. The second time they try to leave, furniture is violently flung across the room. After Julie and Dennis return, Randy quickly leaves, warning that whatever they're dealing with is dangerous. Dennis tells Julie that the symbol he found in the girls' room belonged to a witches' coven that brainwashed girls of child-bearing age into having sons, and then force them to give up their sons; they would not remember anything afterward. Julie dismisses his claim, and instead argues with Dennis.

The invisible demon terrorizes Katie and Kristi, harming Katie until Kristi agrees to do what it asks. The next day, Kristi asks her mother to take them to her grandmother Lois's house in Moorpark, California, but she refuses. After Julie encounters frightening activity herself, she agrees to go to Lois's home. Dennis sets up another camera in their new bedroom. At 1 am, they are awoken by loud disturbances and Julie goes to investigate. When she fails to return, Dennis goes to look for her. He calls for Julie and the girls but there is apparently no one there. Downstairs, Dennis notices a human silhouette behind a curtain, but when he looks there is no one there. He finds occult imagery on the walls, including the symbol from the girls' room, which had been concealed behind paintings. Dennis enters the garage and discovers several women, including Lois, dressed in all black. He flees back to the house, with the women in pursuit. In the house, he finds Julie at the top of the stairs. As he approaches her, he sees that her limp body is levitating above the ground. Her body is thrown at Dennis, knocking him down the stairs. He sees Kristi, and hides with her in a closet. The demon growls and bangs on the door, but eventually leaves.

Dennis and Kristi leave the closet and walk into the kitchen. In the window, Dennis sees the women outside in the garden, circling around a bonfire. They find Katie crying by the stairs near Julie's body. Dennis approaches Katie from behind, but when he places his hand on her shoulder, Katie turns around and unleashes a demonic scream that throws him to the other side of the room, injuring his leg. Katie flees and Dennis tries to crawl toward Julie's body. Lois stands in his way, and Dennis's body is violently contorted, killing him. Lois then beckons to Kristi and Katie and, after they start going upstairs, Lois says "Let's get ready". before they head upstairs, Kristi calls for Toby when they leave the camera lying on the floor. And then, it goes to static and black after low growling sounds are heard from upstairs.


  • Chris Smith as Dennis
  • Lauren Bittner as Julie
  • Chloe Csengery as young Katie
    • Katie Featherston as adult Katie
  • Jessica Tyler Brown as young Kristi
    • Sprague Grayden as adult Kristi
  • Dustin Ingram as Randy Rosen
  • Hallie Foote as Grandma Lois
  • Johanna Braddy as Lisa
  • Brian Boland as Daniel Rey
  • Bailey Brown as Bailey


Principal photography began in June 2011 and ended in August. At the time during production, the film was under the name "Sports Camp".[citation needed] The film was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (who both directed the documentary Catfish).[5] Jason Blum, Oren Peli and Steven Schneider produced, along with Akiva Goldsman serving as executive producer. With a script written by Christopher B. Landon, the prequel was released on October 21, 2011.[6] In some of the trailers, many of the scenes weren't shown in the final cut, which angered many of the fans.

Once again using unique social media strategy after the success of the first two films, Paranormal Activity 3 created the "Tweet Your Scream" campaign on Twitter in preparation for the release.[7]


The film has received generally positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 68% of 117 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6 out of 10. The website's consensus is, "While the jolts and thrills are undeniably subject to the diminishing returns that plague most horror sequels, Paranormal Activity 3 is a surprisingly spine-tingling treat."[8] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 59 based on 25 reviews.[9] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[10] Conversely, Roger Ebert gave the film a single star out of four, stating that "the appeal has worn threadbare", but predicting that the film will fare well in the box office nevertheless.[11]

Box office[]

The film performed even better than its predecessors, grossing $8 million from midnight showings, setting yet another record for a horror film. Its total Friday gross was an estimated $26.2 million, which was the best opening day gross for a 2011 film since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in July.[12] Bringing its total to $52.6 million, it set a new record for the franchise, a horror film (Paranormal Activity 2, $40.6 million). At the time of its release, it set a new opening weekend record for a film released in the month of October as well as the fall season (later surpassed by Gravity in 2013 with a weekend gross of $55.8 million).

Paranormal Activity 3 grossed $104,028,807 in the United States and Canada, along with $101,675,011 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $205,703,818,[3] making it the highest grossing film in the 'Paranormal Activity' series.

Home media[]

Paranormal Activity 3 was released on DVD/Blu-ray and video on demand/pay-per-view on January 24, 2012, and includes an unrated director's cut, "lost tapes" (deleted scenes), theatrical version, and digital copy. A one-disc theatrical version of the movie was released on DVD on February 14, 2012.


Main article: Paranormal Activity 4

In January 2012, Paramount announced there would be a fourth film in the franchise. It was to be directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the directors of the third film. Filming started in late June. The film was released on October 19, 2012. On August 1, 2012, the first trailer was released, teasing this film with the tagline, "all the activity has led to this".[13][14][15]

See also[]

  • Found footage (pseudo-documentary)


  1. "Paranormal Activity 3 (15)". Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. British Board of Film Classification. October 10, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  2. Kaufman, Amy; Zeitchik, Steven (October 20, 2011). "Movie Projector: 'Paranormal Activity 3' to frighten rivals". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  4. "Global Sites & Release Dates". Paramount Pictures. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  5. "Horror News: Director James Wan to Hunt a Spectre; Catfish Helmers to Tackle Paranormal Activity 3". reelz. May 9, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  6. "San Diego Comic-Con 2011: The First Teaser Trailer for Paranormal Activity 3 Is Waiting to Haunt You; Oren Peli Speaks!". July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  7. “Paranormal Activity 3″ Uses Social Media Strategy To Scare Up Tweets. Splash Media. Retrieved on 2012-07-07.
  8. "Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  9. "Paranormal Activity 3 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  10. McClintock, Pamela (October 21, 2011). "Box Office Report: 'Paranormal Activity 3' on Course for Jaw-Dropping $45 Mil to $50 Mil Weekend". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on October 22, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  11. "Paranormal Activity 3". Chicago Sun-Times.
  12. Box office update: 'Paranormal Activity 3' records best opening day ($26.2 mil) since 'Harry Potter'
  13. Miller, Daniel. "'Paranormal Activity 4' Will Hit Theaters Oct. 19. A 13 second trailer was released on July 30th. The full trailer will be released on the 1st August 2012". The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. Sullivan, Kevin P.. (2012-01-03) 'Paranormal Activity 4' Confirmed By Paramount - Music, Celebrity, Artist News. Retrieved on 2012-07-07.
  15. Paranormal Activity 4 Is Official | Movie News | Empire. Retrieved on 2012-07-07.

External links[]

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