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Paramount Sacrifices `Paranormal' Sales to Break Theaters' Lock

  • Cinema boycott thwarts potential No. 1 debut at box office
  • `The current model is not sustainable,' studio executive says

Paramount Pictures gave up millions of dollars and the chance to lead the box office this past weekend in a bid to upend how Hollywood releases movies. The studio won’t know until January whether it was worth it.

“Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” the sixth film in the horror series, opened in about half the U.S. and Canadian cinemas its predecessors did and took in less than half their sales, generating just $8.1 million. It would have done better if Viacom Inc.’s film division hadn’t triggered a boycott by major U.S. theater chains by saying it would release the film on home video in about seven weeks, rather than the usual 90 days.