‘Jackass 3.5′ Blazes Distinctive Path To Digital Platforms

Johnny Knoxville

When you’re a mega-successful film franchise, doing something unique in digital distribution is typically besides the point. But nobody told Paramount Digital Entertainment and MTV, which is continuing its unique experiment with a “3.5” installment of Jackass.

Hot on the heels of Jackass 3D, a second sequel that did record-setting boxoffice in its opening weekend in September, Jackass 3.5 is a project with the kind of release strategy you just don’t see being done. Never-before-seen footage left on the cutting-room floor of Johnny Knoxville’s masochistic misadventures will be packaged with entirely new material and distributed online in weekly installments beginning March 2011 before moving on to Blu-Ray and DVD.

It’s not the first time Jackass has done this; Paramount/MTV employed a similar strategy for “2.5,” which was released in 2007 after the second film. It’s an interesting way of keeping a brand fresh in the minds of a fickle young male fan base that live and breathe online in between theatrical installments.

UPDATE: Thomas Lesinski, president of Paramount Digital Entertainment, presided over the launch of Jackass 2.5 and is back for 3.5. One key difference: 3.5 was shot simultaneous with the 3D film, while 2.5 was cobbled together 18 months after Jackass 2 was in theaters.

“It only helps from a consumer marketing point of view that Jackass 3D did so well,” he said.

Not only did it gross $116 million domestically to date, but an additional $42 million outside the U.S., which will make the international push for 3.5 much bigger than the sprinkling of markets that saw 2.5. “There’s a lot more aggregators coming to us from overseas this time around,” he said.

Lesinski has an an eye on repeating the first’s success but with some tweaks to adapt to how the digital landscape has changed in the intervening years. Distributors and sponsors are nearly done deals, but PDE won’t be announcing them until the ink is dry in a few weeks.

But Lesinski gave a few details ahead of time: Look for Jackass 3.5 to roll out online with a broader range of partners, a more “open” strategy than some of the exclusivity that locked in 2.5 to partners like Blockbuster’s Movielink. And instead of just one episode releasing per week, it will likely be two at a time this time out. There will also be some overlap between its episodic online window and the deployment of the entire 3.5 film on DVD, VOD and iTunes.

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