By gabe | Gabe's Declaration of Principles December 13, 2007 at 3:09AM
I'm Johnny Knoxville and I call this stunt "the future of distribution"
New 'Jackass' film debuting online
'2.5' comprised of extra footage from sequel
By TATIANA SIEGEL, TATIANA SIEGEL, BEN FRITZ
Johnny Knoxville and his crew are bringing their next film directly to the Web.
"Jackass 2.5," a new hourlong feature that mixes extra footage shot for last year's "Jackass 2" and new content, will debut Dec. 19 exclusively on the Web, where it is being hosted by Blockbuster.
Stunt-filled pic, produced by Paramount Digital Entertainment and MTV New Media, will be the first major studio feature to debut online. Initially, it will stream for free with ads.
Move makes good on MTV's long-stated commitment to make full-length movies for the Internet. The two divisions began planning a "Jackass" Internet project 18 months ago, when MTV Films production veteran David Gale was tapped exec VP, new media and specialty film content, at MTV Networks.
"This is the first major project that we're launching under that initiative," Gale said. "It's in the vein of 'Kill Bill' 1 and 2. After shooting 'Jackass Number 2,' we had more than one movie. So, we shot some new stuff (in September) and added some of that new content."
Blockbuster has paid the two Viacom units an advance against a cut of the ad revenue for a one-week exclusive window to stream the pic on Jackassworld.com, a new site developed by MTV and Johnny Knoxville's Dickhouse Prods. shingle.
Thomas Lesinski, prexy of Paramount Digital Media, said the third "Jackass" movie was never considered as anything but a straight-to-Web project.
"We've developed a distribution model that's never been done before," he explained. "Our goal is to prove that there is an audience to watch content online."
Lesinski added that Paramount is already pleased enough with the interest it generated from Blockbuster and other parties that it's planning to debut more movies on the Net in the future.
As part of its deal, Blockbuster also has exclusive rental rights to the DVD and to offer digital rentals online.
Once the exclusive streaming window ends on Dec. 26, sites such as iTunes and Amazon.com will offer "Jackass 2.5" on a download-to-own basis, and other retailers will sell the DVD.
Users will also be able to embed clips from the pic, along with ads, anywhere on the Web.
Jackassworld.com, which promises on its home page to be "fully erect" by Feb. 8, will be a portal for all things related to the "Jackass" phenomenon, including clips from the MTV series and new content.
"Jackass 2.5" marks the first major Web deal for Blockbuster since it purchased film download store Movielink in August for $6.6 million. Vidtailer is hoping to use "Jackass 2.5" to promote its other online movie download and DVD rental offerings.
Blockbuster Online senior veep Aaron Coleman said his company and Paramount will be marketing the pic almost exclusively online, including an application on Facebook.
Internet deal is sure to raise eyebrows with WGA members who are striking in large part over gaining a stake in online revenues. The project, though, has no credited writers.
"Jackass: The Movie" and "Jackass Number 2" grossed a combined $137.1 million domestically for Par.