Paramount To Share The Wealth With Theaters If They Let Movies Go To Home Video Early

"But daddy, I just saw this movie two weeks ago when it was still in theaters..."

“But daddy, I just saw this movie two weeks ago when it was still in theaters…”

The traditional studio film won’t come out on video until at least 90 days after it’s hit theaters, even if it stopped playing on most screens after only a few weeks. But a new agreement between Paramount and two major theater chains could cut that release time in half.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Viacom-owned Paramount has made a deal with AMC theaters in the U.S. and Canada’s Cineplex chain that will allow these companies to share in some of the revenue from the secondary markets of a pair of upcoming movies if they allow the titles to reach the home video market earlier than usual.

The studio and the two chains will try out this model on two October releases, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Once either film is playing on fewer than 300 screens (probably after four or five weeks of release), Paramount will start a two-week countdown clock before it can get those films into the secondary market.

That means there is no dead time between the disappearance of the film from theaters and its release to the home viewer. Studios don’t have to launch new and expensive marketing campaigns to remind people of a film that came out many months earlier.

For now, only AMC and Cineplex are involved, though Paramount says it’s willing to reach similar agreements with other theater operators. If no one else signs on, then the studio will only release these movies on through these two chains.

While we could imagine theater chains foregoing taking the risk with these two smaller-budget horror movies, Paramount could use its leverage with upcoming big-ticket entries in the Star Trek, Transformers, and Mission: Impossible franchises to win theater operators over to their new business model.

If Paramount is successful at convincing theaters to go along with shorter windows in exchange for a cut of home video revenue, expect other studios to follow and ultimately for that window to continue to shrink.

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