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Paramount box-office horror duds coming to home video early

Paramount box-office horror duds coming to home video early
Ivy George portrays Leila in the Paramount movie "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension." (Paramount Pictures / Paramount Pictures)

Paramount Pictures is following through with its controversial plan to bring two of its theatrical movies to the home video market much earlier than usual.

The Melrose Avenue studio on Tuesday announced release dates for "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse" and "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension," which will become available digitally on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, respectively.

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That means both movies will come to online stores such as iTunes and Google Play less than two months after they hit U.S. movie theaters, where they failed to draw big audiences.

It's a significant departure from the traditional model, in which films have not become available for home purchase until 90 days after their theatrical debuts.

When Paramount first announced the experiment, the studio billed it as paving the way for a new model of movie distribution. It said the low-budget horror movies would be available to buy 17 days after the films were being shown in fewer than 300 North American theaters.

The new method "allows us to maximize the revenue potential of these films, satisfy consumer demand through legitimate digital access, while respecting and preserving an exclusive theatrical window," said Megan Colligan, Paramount's president of distribution and marketing.

The movie industry is expected to closely watch the films' home video performance to determine if Paramount's experiment is successful.

As part of the plan, Paramount agreed to share a percentage of its home video revenue with participating theater chains, including AMC Theatres, Cineplex Entertainment and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Some theater chains balked at the plan, which they view as a threat to their business model. Regal Cinemas, the largest U.S. exhibitor, and Cinemark refused to show the movies, dampening their box-office prospects.

Neither film did well at the box office. "Scouts Guide" came out Oct. 30 and grossed just $3.7 million domestically. The "Paranormal Activity" sequel -- released Oct. 23 -- took in $18 million in box-office receipts at home, but did better abroad, bringing its worldwide tally to $77.6 million.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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