Imagine there were a new Harry Potter movie, but it featured none of the regular characters from the series and was set at the dragon sanctuary in Romania. And all the dialogue was Romanian, and in fact the movie was exclusively released there. Would you be upset that you couldn't see it? Would you seek out a copy or request it be distributed in the U.S.? I'm not even a huge fan of the Potter franchise and yet I'd really want to watch that.
Likewise, I'm no diehard Paranormal Activity fan, but I can't seem to avoid each sequel when it comes around, and I'll be just as anxious to check out the Spanish-language spin-off in the works, which was teased in a post-credits sequence at the end of Paranormal Activity 4. While this "Latino-themed" offshoot is intended to appeal to a certain ethnic audience with its love for religion-based horror, there's no reason that us non-Hispanic moviegoers should miss out. Hopefully it won't only be released to limited regions heavily populated with Latinos, and hopefully it won't lack English subtitles like the teaser does.
This new niche-focused sidequel isn't even the first of its kind for the series. Two years ago, Japan got its own spin-off, Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night (aka Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night). I can't seem to find out for sure if the film was officially sanctioned by Paramount or if its link to the Katie character of the main series -- the film's protagonist hit her with a car while studying in San Diego and contracted some demonic spirit of her own, which returned with her to Japan -- is to be considered franchise canon. I also can't find a way to see this spin-off in English, save for tracking down a copy of the U.K. DVD release. Apparently it was good enough for theaters in Europe, the Middle East, South America and other parts of Asia, yet not America.
But Tokyo Night just looks like a remake for the most part anyway, which makes this foreign spin-off concept remind me of when Hollywood would produce multiple versions of its early sound films in different languages to distribute to other territories. Now the main idea of the Latino focus is for focus on a certain market that includes people in the U.S., but part of the broader thinking might be a recognition of the ever-increasing success overseas for films that don't do so well at home. This would include The Expenables 2, which made a whole lot more internationally than domestically. Lionsgate would probably do just fine releasing part three everywhere but in the U.S. But that still doesn't allow for one single other language to be favored over English.
So, there's no likelihood that big budget film series -- which is the opposite of the Paranormal Activity franchise -- would ever go for a foreign-language spin-off. That said, it's fun to imagine a German-language Die Hard spin-off involving another member of the Gruber clan and a European hero. And it's reasonable to ponder foreign-language comic book movies associated with The Avengers or other movie series. Couldn't there be a Chinese Avengers or a Russian Avengers or a South American X-Men team? I would definitely watch them all. How about you?
Would you watch foreign-language spin-offs of your favorite film franchises?
Here some responses received so far via Twitter:
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