While not heavily advertised, many horror fans still knew that the sixth, and hopefully final, installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise was released this past Friday. What most of us didn't know, however, is that we would have to drive 45 minutes to find the closest theater showing it. As I started browsing through theaters and movie times all across the city of Nashville, I realized it would take me almost an hour of driving just to see the flick. That thought baffled me. The most monetarily successful franchise of all time isn't showing in any major theaters. What gives?? As I did some research, the answer actually made sense. And, while said reason was a flop for the studio, it's great news for horror fans.
Paramount had an idea to make movies more accessible to fans at a quicker rate, and decided to try it out with The Ghost Dimension. Their plan was simple; release the VOD version of the film only two weeks after the film leaves theaters, and Paramount will pay the theater companies a percentage of the VOD profits. While this sounds like a great deal, the major theater companies felt otherwise. Regal, Cinemark, and Carmike all declined the offer, and refused to show the film at all. The only major chain currently carrying The Ghost Dimension is AMC. So, if you live near an AMC, you're in good shape. The hope with this idea was that true fans of the franchise would show up to the theaters to support the film, while casual moviegoers would wait a couple of weeks and catch it at home. While the plan backfired for Paramount, it turned out really well for us horror fans. Here's why.
The Paranormal Activity franchise has gotten stale, we all know this. And The Ghost Dimension has gotten some pretty horrible reviews, we know this as well. The worst part, I know that there are a lot of us who still really wanna see it. I haven't been really hooked on the franchise since Paranormal 3 (my personal favorite of the series) but I'm still very curious to see how it all ends. While each movie has had a lot of flaws, I think we all enjoy seeing how they can continue to tie together. I was already on the fence about paying ten bucks for a movie that I wasn't sure about to begin with. Then, when I found out I had to drive further to go see it, I was really leaning toward waiting. But, this system was a blessing in disguise. The On Demand version of Ghost Dimension is available 14 days after it "leaves" theaters. That means two weeks after the number of theaters screening the film drops below 300. It's only showing in around 1000 as we speak. With box office dollars per screen not impressing, and a plethora of new movies being released in the next couple of weeks, it's safe to assume that 1000 will become 300 in a very short amount of time. That means, instead of driving an hour and paying a fortune for a movie I'm not even that excited about, I can wait just a few weeks and watch it in my living room with some friends. And I can probably rent it for less than what I would have paid for just one ticket. The big downside to this? Paramount is also using the same formula this weekend when they release Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. This movie looks like a ton of fun for Halloween weekend, and I hope the major theater chains agree.