Small budget, big box-office bling
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By Ramie Becker, Emily Christianson and Jevon Phillips, Los Angeles Times staff
When Oren Peli moved to the suburbs, he was puzzled by the little noises he heard in the night. The creaks and groans of his own house inspired him to make a movie about a haunted couple who set up video cameras to catch the supernatural activity happening in their room after dark.
Like many first-time directors, Peli had to be resourceful. He invited his friends and a few actors over to his house and shot the film in seven days for just $15,000.
The film, called "Paranormal Activity," became an instant hit on the festival circuit and was quickly nabbed by Steven Spielberg. With a distribution deal with Dreamworks and later Paramount, Peli hit the jackpot. As "Paranormal Activity" opened to box office records across the country, this little movie appears to be heading to 'next big thing' status. Here's a look back at a few of Peli's predecessors, whose little movies made millions.
Related: 'Couples Retreat' a popular destination, 'Paranormal Activity' sets record
Related: The haunted history of 'Paranormal Activity'