This one goes out to those of you who are clamoring for a sequel to this year’s sci-fi surprise District 9. Sam Raimi and his Ghost House Pictures shingle have won the rights to Panic Attack!, a short film concept by Uruguayan filmmaker Federico Alvarez. The short, which has been tearing up the YouTubes for months now, is reminiscent of Alive in Joburg, the short that director Neill Blomkamp used to get the attention of Peter Jackson, leading to the production of District 9.
According to Uruguayan newspaper El Pais, with help from the folks at Film Junk, Alvarez has signed a deal with Ghost House that will allow him to make a feature-length version of Panic Attack! on a budget of $30-40 million. According to the report, Raimi spoke with Alvarez over the phone and the two seemed to hit if off. The idea is to recreate the relationship between Jackson and Blomkamp, allowing Raimi to handle the business side of things and Alvarez to handle the creative without getting caught up in studio politics, etc.
For the most part, this may seem like a rip-off of the District 9 formula — big time producer plucks YouTube sensation out of the great nothing that is the internet and gives them $40 million to make an effects-driven sci-fi film that makes Michael Bay look like he wastes more money than Bernie Madoff. But then again, I don’t see this as being a bad thing. By this process, we are seeing talented young filmmakers getting a chance to put their creative visions on screen with the help of established, successful producers. There is no real downside to that. Here’s hoping that Raimi and Alvarez can deliver something special, just as Jackson and Blomkamp did earlier this year.
For more on Panic Attack!, check out the original short below.