If you don’t live in a major market, chances are you won’t have the opportunity to watch “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” in a movie theater.
For the first time in franchise history, the sixth entry in the wildly profitable horror franchise will not receive a wide release.
Despite the fact that the most recent entry in the franchise opened wide in nearly 3,000 theaters and grossed $18.3 million in January 2014 , Paramount will be releasing “Ghost Dimension” in only 1,600 theaters nationwide.
The studio has partnered with major theater chains AMC and Cineplex on a deal that will allow the movie to make its home entertainment debut just 17 days after the film’s theater count dips below 300.
In exchange, Deadline reports that these theater chains will receive a 2%-4% share of “digital revenue made between the time the film drops below 300 engagements and 90 days after its opening date.”
Other major theater chains like Regal, Cinemark and Carmike are refusing to play the movie as a result, which explains its limited release.
Although Paramount is likely leaving a lot of money on the table (tracking suggests if the film opened in the expected 2,500+ theaters it would net $20 million opening weekend), they’re just trying to adapt to modern times.
In an interview with Variety, Paramount’s vice-chairman Rob Moore elaborated on the strategy: “We are making an investment in getting information. This is about the longer term health of how we distribute movies. The consumer is changing and we have to change as well.”
By allowing the film to be released on video-on-demand (VOD) platforms so early, Paramount won’t need to mount a second advertising push down the line. They can bank on the ad campaign and awareness drummed up by the initial push.
The experiment comes not too long after Paramount’s “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” failed to cash in theatrically. Deadline reports that Paramount rushed the film out to VOD, where it then tripled its initial box office haul.
The smaller-scale release means a much smaller advertising push, which also saves Paramount some cash.
Considering the “Paranormal Activity” films have always been low-budget & high-reward, it’s a fairly low-risk experiment for the studio, who will likely already be in the black by the end of the week, even with this restricted release.
The film is expected to net somewhere between $10-12 million this weekend.
Watch the trailer below.
“Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” opens in limited release today.