Paramount’s decision to release Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension on VOD 17 days after the film drops below 300 theaters, looks like an experiment that reduces the theatrical experience to non important and will likely curb the waning but profitable series to non-theatrical status in the future. Everything about Paramount’s VOD experiment feels misguided, from the additional expense of adding 3D to the movie, to the audience reaction TV spots, which Paramount’s reduced theater count and right around the corner VOD release date seem to negate both of those. Why sabotage the theatrical revenue by having an abbreviated release, when these pictures are incredibly front loaded and name recognition will almost guarantee a decent enough opening weekend, despite franchise fatigue felt by the box office of The Marked Ones. If it’s the rising P&A costs associated with a wide release that is pushing Paramount to focus on the home market, why not simply cease the ad spend after the opening weekend — when these films usually take a quick box office nosedive. Six installments in, audiences know if they’re heading to the theater for another one of these or if you’ll avoid it at all costs and for a series that was built on word of mouth, but became quickly dependant on the opening weekend, it feels foolish to impair the opening potential. Most major cinema chains have refused to play Ghost Dimension, due to the short VOD window, which will just add to the confusion in the marketplace when audiences may not have a theater in their town booking the picture or even have any idea the film will be available through their cable provider a few weeks later. Perhaps Paramount’s experiment might work to their advantage with an unknown property like Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse, which is also getting the same treatment, but it feels self destructive to a franchise that has been milked to six entries, but still has earning power. If Paramount wants to continue the series, it will be difficult to convince what will likely be confused audiences that the next installment is big screen material, if Ghost Dimension fails both theatrically and on VOD. I never thought I would be defending the theatrical potential of a found footage title, but Paramount’s push away from the big screen to your television for a known property, just feels designed to push exhibitor’s buttons, while making little fiscal sense. It’s important that the leading theater chains refused to book Ghost Dimension and hold onto the short enough window from the theater to ancillary markets. With rising ticket prices and price gouging 3D premiums, Paramount seems intent on convincing audiences to just stay home. Why?