'Paranormal Activity': Four Ways To Keep The Series Alive

'Marked Ones' was a step in the right direction, but the found-footage movies need an overhaul.

The fifth movie in the "Paranormal Activity" series, "The Marked Ones," debuted this weekend to $18.2 million, which more than covers its $5 million budget, but falls short of the franchise's past openings. This marks the second consecutive fall for the series' openings, which have been down since "Paranormal Activity 3."

Reviews for "The Marked Ones," however, were some of the best since the third movie. The two entries share the "demon haunts white suburban family" formula (which, as the series continues, will only seem more and more familiar). The "Paranormal Activity" series may still be able to turn more profit, but if it wants to keep fans interested, the producers will have to find more ways to play with their expectations. That means changing up the format, and we've got a few ideas.

Give Us A Hero

One of the most chilling elements of the series is that most of the people we watch on security cameras for 90 minutes are dead by the time the footage cuts off. It's a surefire way to make sure the audience leaves the theater thoroughly creeped out, but it also removes any chance of an emotional hook for the inevitable next movie.

If "Paranormal Activity" wants to keep putting out yearly installments, maybe it's time to consider serializing the story beyond the growing mythology. An easy way to achieve this would be to bring back Kathryn Newton as Alex from "Paranormal Activity 4." It would be a nice change of pace to actually root for a human character instead of just waiting for them to die.

Take It Mobile

In the last few years, creative GoPro videos have become ubiquitous on the Internet, and the POV format seems to be the next logical step for the series. Granted, every camera operator in the past has just carried their camcorder around. Eventually it's going to seem silly that anyone post-2007 would record anything with a camcorder. The easy upgrade also opens up a bunch of other possibilities like riding a bike or driving a car away from demons. Just think of the sweet car-chase opportunities.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys

The elevator pitch is as simple as " 'COP' meets 'Paranormal Activity.' " This is would combine the power of the GoPro as described above and dashboard cameras. Following a police officer could be limiting in the events that are depicted, since it would do away with the familiar haunted-house format, but leaving that behind would also mean saying goodbye to the most expected "mysterious noise" scares.

"PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES" SPOILERS AHEAD

"Paranormal Activity: Back to the Future 2"

It wasn't exactly something that we saw coming, but time travel exists in the "Paranormal Activity" universe. We're not quite sure how Hector ended up in Katie and Micah's house at the end of "The Marked Ones," but he was present for the events at the end of the first installment ... and that means time travel.

While we can't recommend that the series becomes all time travel, all the time, we would like to see one installment that fully explores the conceit's role in the series and one that messes with the events from other installments. Maybe Toby will get his hands on a sports almanac.