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New 'Jackass' film to premiere online

December 14, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The next batch of painful "Jackass" stunts is coming to a computer screen near you.

The first two films -- spun off from the former MTV series -- costarred Johnny Knoxville and his gang of gross-out pranksters as they performed stunts to the delight of their youthful fans. But for the sequel "Jackass 2.5," the dirty daredevils pull a new stunt: bypassing the movie theater entirely.

"Jackass 2.5" will instead be released to the Internet. The feature -- which combines unreleased footage from "Jackass Number Two" and new content -- was announced Thursday as a joint venture between Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks.

"It's the first broadband movie ever distributed by a major studio," said Thomas Lesinski, president of Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment.

Blockbuster Inc. will present "Jackass 2.5" free of charge at www.blockbuster.jackassworld .com beginning Wednesday through Dec. 31; on Dec. 26, DVDs of the film will be available for purchase on the site and at major retailers, as well as for rent at Blockbuster stores and the company's website. The film will also be available for download at iTunes, Amazon.com and other sites -- at a price.

In lieu of box-office sales, the venture expects to make money from DVD sales, downloads and embedded ads online -- the latter being exactly the kind of new-media revenue stream that Hollywood writers are striking to get a piece of.

Although that wouldn't necessarily apply to "Jackass 2.5" because it didn't require writers, the marketing strategy is an example of what writers expect to see more of in the future.

Lesinski said the movie's online distribution had potential to be "a game-changing model for Hollywood."

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