In the fight between studios and exhibitors over jealously guarded theatrical windows, the battle just took an interesting turn today.
Two major North American cinema chains – AMC Theatres and Cineplex – have agreed to let Paramount make two of its Fall titles available digitally a mere seventeen days after their theatrical runs come to a close.
Specifically the deal is for “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” opening October 23rd and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” opening the following week.
Genre titles like these two usually run a month to six weeks in cinemas, and then are followed by a 3-4 month window which is insisted on by exhibitors but frustrates studios.
With this deal, from which the exhibitors get a portion of digital rental revenue earned until ninety days after the film’s initial theatrical release, it means people could watch these movies in their homes as early as 6-7 weeks after opening in cinemas. That would mark a big change from the usual minimum of around five months.
For now the experiment only applies to these two films, projects with inherent “shorter shelf lives” than big tentpole films, but it asks the bigger question of whether any other exhibitors will agree to the initiative.