You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Paramount Teams With Exhibitors to Shorten Home Entertainment Release Windows

Paramount Pictures is partnering with two leading exhibitors on an initiative that could significantly shrink the amount of time between a film’s theatrical release and its home entertainment debut.

The studio is teaming up with AMC Theatres and Cineplex Entertainment on an unorthodox rollout of two low-budget horror films, “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.” The films will be available on home entertainment platforms 17 days after leaving theaters.

One other chain has signed on and is expected to go public as soon as tomorrow, but it’s not clear if other major exhibitors like Regal and Cinemark will show the films.

In recent years, studios and exhibitors have clashed whenever there has been an effort to shorten the window for when a film becomes available on DVD or on-demand platforms, which is traditionally 90 days, as many believe audiences will skip the multiplexes if they can see many films from the comfort of the couch.

Paramount is sweetening the pot by offering theater chains who show the film a percentage of the studio’s digital revenue for the period of digital and cable on-demand availability through the first three months from the initial U.S. theatrical release. The percentage that an exhibitor receives will be related to its market share, a spokeswoman for Paramount said.

Popular on Variety

The two films, both of which have October release dates, will be allowed to play in theaters exclusively until the number of screens showing the pictures drops to 300 or less. At that point, the clock will start ticking on the pending home entertainment release. Typically, for films of this size, that will take place four to six weeks after a theatrical debut, the spokeswoman said. She depicted the initiative not as shortening windows, but enabling greater flexibility, because by a time a picture has such a limited theatrical footprint, neither exhibitors nor studios stand to generate much revenue.

Paramount isn’t the first studio to try to overhaul release windows. In 2011, Universal Pictures got an earful from theater chains when it tried to release the comedy “Tower Heist” in a few select markets for a premium price three weeks after it hit theaters. Faced with a boycott, Universal abandoned that plan. Last year, Sony got into it with theater owners when the studio pulled “The Interview” from screens amid terrorist threats before backtracking and launching a simultaneous video-on-demand and theatrical launch. Most exhibitors refused to play the film, consigning it to a few indie chains and arthouses.

News of Paramount’s plan has yet to provoke the same level of exhibitor backlash, and a spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners, the cinema business’ main lobbying arm, praised Paramount for working with its members.

“For several years we’ve been asking for the studios to work with theater owners on developing new models and ways to grow the whole pie and market in ways that don’t damage a film’s theatrical run,” said Patrick Corcoran. “We applaud Paramount for discussing this with theater owners.”

Corcoran said NATO’s other members would have to “evaluate and decide for themselves” about supporting the Paramount initiative. AMC is the second largest theater chain in North America and Canada-based Cineplex is the fifth largest.

The Wall Street Journal first reported plans for the initiative.

More Film

  • 'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot

    'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot Returns With Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig

    “Wonder Woman 1984” dropped its first trailer on Sunday, with Gal Gadot returning as the titular Amazonian goddess. The film is set, of course, in the 1980s in America, decades after the first film’s events. Kristen Wiig is playing Wonder Woman’s infamous comic-book nemesis Cheetah, while Chris Pine is returning for the sequel. It’s unclear, [...]

  • Over the Sea

    Macao Film Review: 'Over the Sea'

    The beginning is a fairy tale, or a nursery rhyme. A woman nurses her squalling baby in a house by an orchard near the sea. Sunlight slants in through the open windows, the mother hums a lullaby, and then brings her son outside and places him in a cot suspended from the apple-laden branches of [...]

  • CCA Film Nominations

    Critics' Choice: 'The Irishman,' 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Lead Movie Nominations

    “The Irishman” has picked up the most film nominations for the 35th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The Martin Scorsese gangster drama goes into the awards show with 14 noms, including best picture, director, acting ensemble as well as best actor (Robert De Niro) and supporting actor (Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), the Critics’ Choice Association [...]

  • Parasite

    LA Film Critics Announce 2019 Winners

    Members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. met today to vote on the year’s best cinema accomplishments. Recent winners of the group’s top prize include “Roma,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Boyhood,” “Her”/”Gravity” and “Amour.” List of winners below. Best Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story” (Runner-up: Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin [...]

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Box Office: 'Jumanji 2' Kicks Off Overseas With $52 Million as 'Frozen 2' Powers Toward $1 Billion

    Disney’s “Frozen 2” skated past international box office competition again as the animated sequel propels toward the billion-dollar mark globally. “Frozen 2” generated another $90 million from 48 foreign territories, boosting its worldwide weekend haul to $124.9 million. After three weekends in theaters, Disney’s musical follow-up has made $919.7 million and should cross $1 billion [...]

  • Lily James

    Lily James Delivers Masterclass in Charm in Macao

    British actor, Lily James delivered a masterclass in charm and good humor at a seminar on Sunday at the International Film Festival and Awards Macao. Questioned on stage by one of the festival’s senior programmers, James brightly chatted her way through eight years of a screen career that has taken her from “Downton Abbey” to [...]

  • Avengers Endgame Lion King Frozen 2

    Disney Crushes Own Global Box Office Record With Historic $10 Billion

    Thanks to a record number of billion-dollar blockbusters, Disney has become the first studio in history to surpass $10 billion at the worldwide box office. Through Sunday, the studio has generated $3.28 billion in North America and $6.7 billion overseas for a global haul of $9.997 billion and is expected to officially cross the benchmark [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content