Why Theaters Are Refusing To Show ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’

If there’s anything that doesn’t die, it’s horror franchises, and Paranormal Activity has been surprisingly durable. They usually cost about $5 million, and the last one, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, grossed, oh, eighteen times that or so worldwide. But the sixth entry in the series, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, might be making a heck of a lot less, thanks to theaters refusing to show it.

No, they haven’t finally put Paris Hilton in front of those infrared cameras. Theaters think Paramount is trying to kill their business model by putting it out for digital viewing 17 days after it opens:

Film companies argue that some types of films, such as genre titles like Paranormal Activity, have a short theatrical shelf life, yet are still bound by the 90-day theatrical window set by theater owners. But many circuits — including Regal and Cinemark, the country’s third-largest exhibitor — rejected Paramount’s offer. Regal CEO Amy Miles publicly criticized the pact struck between Paramount, AMC and Canada’s Cineplex, saying Regal would reserve its screens for traditional releases.

The problem here is that, uh, Paramount has a point, at least with Paranormal Activity. The last entry in the series came out January 3, and made most of its $32 million gross in the first two weekends. In fact, if Paramount had put it out on video two weeks after it came out, it would have been on just 500 screens the next weekend anyway.

Granted, theaters have reason to be paranoid studios are out to kill them. It’s a business with razor thin margins, and theaters are beginning to panic as they realize Netflix and other video services might chip away at those margins by allowing you to avoid annoying people and not pay a 500 percent markup on stale popcorn. Still, next week, a few major chains are going to have to explain to this series’ fans why, precisely, they can’t see the next movie in their favorite horror franchise, and they’d better have a good answer.(Via The Hollywood Reporter)

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