Name recognition is the most important thing in movie marketing. It’s why I’m surprised that the Batman Begins sequel is currently called just The Dark Knight, although I feel like it may end up as Batman: The Dark Knight. If people recognize the name of the movie in some way, the theory goes, they’re more likely to see it. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that it helps the awareness rating of movies when studios do tracking. That’s why we’re seeing more and more remakes that have the name in common with the original and little else. And that’s why MGM is trying to get the Poltergeist series back off the ground.
I am going to take a stand and say that the Poltergeist franchise is the least artistically successful of all time. The first film still stands tall in our collective memory, but the sequels feel more like bad dreams than anything else. It’s either a testament to the first one that it could withstand the assault of vastly inferior sequels or it’s a sign of how utterly forgettable the sequels were. In any case, MGM is coming back for more, but this time it’s not a remake, as had been rumored, or a direct continuation (as Clint Morris of Moviehole had been involved with).
The studio has apparently plucked original Poltergeist screenwriter Michael Grais from what looks like retirement to write a completely new Poltergeist film. Clint at Moviehole is reporting that MGM is looking at the movie as a theatrical release, but that’s about all he knows for sure.
Maybe Grais can go meta and write a film about a Poltergeist movie being made that is haunted by the ghost of Heather O’Rourke. Or he could pit Poltergeist’s TV against Samara from The Ring – I know which one has scared me more.