After doing tremendously well at the box office this year, and setting records with its first weekend release being the best opening of a horror film to date, it will come as no surprise that Paramount have announced a fourth Paranormal Activity film will be on its way this year.

The third film went straight to #1 at the US box office back in October, earning more than $50m. in its first weekend in the States from a $5m. budget, and going on to take more than $200m. at the international box office – earning more than forty times the initial investment. Forty times!

In their press release regarding their slate for the coming year,Paramountput out the following:

“In 2012, Paramount’s release slate highlights include “World War Z,” a zombie thriller starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster , “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” the next installment in the global franchise starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Channing Tatum , a new chapter in the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, and “The Dictator,” starring Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Larry Charles , the team behind “Borat.””

Nothing concrete in terms of details about the project, including who will be writing or directing, but it’s probably safe to assume that we can expect it in October this year, and no doubt a weekend or two before Halloween, when the first three films have each been released.

The original was written and directed by Oren Peli, who served as a producer on the sequels, which were directed by Tod Williams on the second, and the directing team of Henry Joost and Ariel Schuman on the third. Given that Peli returned as a producer for the sequels, it’s not unlikely that he’ll be back to produce the fourth, but no word yet on who’ll be taking the helm or penning the script.

I must admit that I’m still yet to see any of the first three, but I’ve heard some pretty great things about them, and so I’ve got just over ten months now to play catch-up. The box office takings of the third film definitely suggest that there’s clearly still very much a market for the franchise, and if they can turn a small budget into a big return and still make something good, then why not? More news as we get it.

Thanks to Collider for the heads up.