Paramount’s Plan to Shorten Home Entertainment Windows Gains Support

Paramount Pictures has gained support in its 3-week-old effort to significantly shrink the amount of time between a film’s theatrical release and its home entertainment debut.

The studio announced on July 8 that it had teamed with AMC Theatres and Cineplex Entertainment for a 17-day window on an unorthodox rollout of two low-budget horror films: “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” on October 23 and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” on October 30.

Five additional theater chains have signed up for Paramount’s new plan: National Amusements, the cinema chain owned by Sumner Redstone and daughter Shari Redstone; New Orleans-based Southern Theatres; Alamo Drafthouse Cinema; Canada’s Landmark Cinemas; and the upscale dining-and-movies exhibitor iPic.

In recent years, studios and exhibitors have clashed over efforts to shorten the window between a film’s theatrical release and availability on DVD and VOD platforms, which is traditionally 90 days. Many exhibitors believe that audiences will skip the multiplexes altogether if they can see the films from the comfort of the couch.

Paramount’s plan calls for theater chains that show its films to pocket a percentage of the studio’s digital revenue through the first three months of the initial U.S. theatrical release. The films will be allowed to play in theaters exclusively until the number of screens showing the pics drops to 300 or fewer.

UPDATE, 6:40 p.m. — The Regal Cinemas chain will not support Paramount’s proposal and will not show “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.”

In a call with analysts following the release of Regal earnings, CEO Amy Miles said the parameters of the proposal do not make sense for her company, citing the potential risks to the long term health of the exhibition business.


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