The next Jackass movie will skip theaters entirely and will instead be shown online, capping off what has been a business-changing week for the movie business. Starting Dec. 19, Jackass 2.5 will be available for free for two weeks via Blockbuster’s Movielink; from there it will move to other forms of distribution including DVD, VOD and iTunes.
And this is no cheap knock-off Jackass-lite (I shudder to think how much cheaper it could get). All the key players are returning, even executive producer Spike Jonze. The series has done well theatrically in the past, and six months ago, this move would have been a surprise. But given the movie business’ sudden embrace of downloads, well, it really isn’t.
Just this week we saw the latest Harry Potter DVD include a downloadable version of the film, and Vudu offered an online HD download of The Bourne Ultimatum on the same day the movie went to DVD. Last month, filmmaker Edward Burns skipped theaters altogether as well, releasing his Purple Violets only through iTunes.
The Jackass move is just the logical next step. It’s also a perfect property with which Paramount can experiment. The studio will reportedly forgo an expensive, year-long marketing campaign for the film, and instead release viral videos the week beforehand. And let’s face it: idiot man-children getting whacked in the nuts (or gored, or stapled, or set on fire) is prime viral material.
Who knew Jackasses could be so smart?