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Blockbuster Gets 'Jackass 2.5' Web Exclusive

13 Dec, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Blockbuster Inc.'s fledgling foray into Web-based rental streams gets an exclusive boost Dec. 19 when Paramount Pictures' Jackass 2.5 will be available for free online.

The third installment of the hi-jinks franchise again stars Johnny Knoxville and his crew of human battering rams: Bam Margera, Chris Pontius and Steve-O, among others, engaging in death-defying stunts, humiliating practical jokes and assorted really bad ideas.

The ad-supported 60-minute digital edition, co-released by MTV New Media and Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment, will be available at www.blockbuster.jackassworld.com, and beginning Jan. 1, 2008, for download-to-rent at Blockbuster-owned Movielink.com.

Blockbuster acquired movie download service Movielink in August in an effort to establish a beachhead in the nascent digital distribution channel and compete against rival Netflix Inc.'s PC-based streaming service.

The free Jackass 2.5 stream does not require a Blockbuster membership but does require downloading a free Microsoft Silverlight media player.

The unrated direct-to-DVD title streets Dec. 26 for $29.99 with Blockbuster also holding exclusive packaged media rental rights.

Special DVD features, not available on the stream, include “The Making of Jackass 2.5,” “The Making of Jackass The Game,” a photo gallery and 16 separate bonus segments featuring the Jackass cast.

A Web site devoted to the franchise, JackassWorld.com, bows Feb. 9, 2008.

Jackass: The Movie (2002) and Jackass Number Two (2006) generated almost $30 million in box office revenue.

Edward Woo, media analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles, downplayed the exclusive, characterizing it as a minor achievement for Blockbuster.

“I think it is an interesting play but I don't think anybody is factoring this to really move the [rental] needle [in Blockbuster's favor],” Woo said.

He said the reported $2 million Blockbuster paid Paramount for the Jackass 2.5 rights, excluding 70% of the ad-revenue the Dallas-based rental giant will cough up, is certainly positive for Paramount.

“If this was a smaller rental company or a bigger, blockbuster movie, yeah it would be huge,” Woo said. “But Jackass 2.5; not too exciting.”

Online investment service, The Motley Fool, countered that the digital exclusive marked a coup for Blockbuster at Netflix's expense.

“The unspoken message will be clear: Netflix may have 90,000 DVDs available, but none of them will be Jackass 2.5,” wrote The Fool.

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