'Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension' Shunned by Many Theater Circuits Due to Early VOD Plan

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension'

"There is no question that we are going to do less theatrically, but I believe we will make it up digitally. This is about the long-term health of the business, so there is not this long period of time when a consumer can't watch a movie," says Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore.

Paramount's innovative release plan for Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension may result in the sixth installment seeing the lowest nationwide start of any film in the franchise. Conversely, it could make up the difference when becoming available in the home earlier than normal.

Many theater circuits are refusing to carry the movie, saying the early VOD release threatens the traditional theatrical window. That means Ghost Dimension will only go out in roughly 1,400 North American locations when opening Oct. 23 — compared to 2,883 for the last title and well north of 3,000 theaters for each of the previous three films. Ghost Dimension is pacing to open to $10 million-$12 million domestically, compared to $18.3 million for last year's Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

But that doesn't mean for lack of interest; according to those with access to prerelease tracking, it has better scores than Marked Ones. (In other words, theaters not carrying Ghost Dimension could find themselves having to explain to customers why they're not).

"We are not collapsing windows. We want the theatrical window to flourish," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore told The Hollywood Reporter. "There is no question that we are going to do less theatrically, but I believe we will make it up digitally. This is about the long-term health of the business, so there is not this long period of time when a consumer can't watch a movie."

In July, Paramount announced it had struck a deal with AMC Entertainment — the country's second largest circuit after Regal Entertainment — to make Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Ghost Dimension available digitally 17 days after they all but leave theaters as part of a larger experiment, and asked other theaters to join in. In return, Paramount will share an undisclosed portion of proceeds of the VOD revenues.

That means customers can watch the two movies in the comfort of their own homes as early as six to seven weeks after they first open in cinemas, instead of the standard three to four months. Film companies argue that some types of films, such as genre titles like Paranormal Activity, have a short theatrical shelf life, yet are still bound by the 90-day theatrical window set by theater owners. 

But many circuits — including Regal and Cinemark, the country's third-largest exhibitor — rejected Paramount's offer. Regal CEO Amy Miles publicly criticized the pact struck between Paramount, AMC and Canada's Cineplex, saying Regal would reserve its screens for traditional releases.

Cinema chains that did sign up include New Orleans-based Southern Theatres, which is among the 10 largest circuits in the U.S., Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Canada's Landmark Cinemas and upscale exhibitor iPic.

"We knew a number of exhibitors wouldn't play the movie," Moore said. "Some take the position that the consumer knows there is a 90-day window. That's nonsense. Consumers do not know."

 

Viacom-owned Paramount is considering expanding the strategy, and will assess the per-theater returns on the film as well as the VOD numbers in making the call.

Other studios and chains will be watching as well, and if they were to make similar deals, it could disrupt a business model that has since the onset of the VCR been the standard for Hollywood studios, theater owners and movie

- See more at: http://www.thewrap.com/paranormal-activity-ghost-dimension-box-office-prospects-slashed-by-angry-theater-chains/#.dpuf

Viacom-owned Paramount is considering expanding the strategy, and will assess the per-theater returns on the film as well as the VOD numbers in making the call.

Other studios and chains will be watching as well, and if they were to make similar deals, it could disrupt a business model that has since the onset of the VCR been the standard for Hollywood studios, theater owners and movie

- See more at: http://www.thewrap.com/paranormal-activity-ghost-dimension-box-office-prospects-slashed-by-angry-theater-chains/#.dpuf
comments powered by Disqus