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Paramount to release latest Jackass straight to web

LONDON - Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment's forthcoming 'Jackass 2.5' movie is to be released entirely online from next week for free, in what is believed to be the first time a major studio has agreed to promote its work without the aid of cinema.

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'Jackass 2.5', which sees the return of Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and cohorts performing life-endangering stunts and idiotic pranks, will be released entirely online from December 19.

It will be released in association with Blockbuster through a specially created website, until the end of the year.

The franchise, which began life on MTV in 2000, went on to spawn two films and various spin-off products. These included 'Jackass: The Game', on the Sony PlayStation, featuring the show's dare-devil stunts and notorious pranks.

Viacom's Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment has chosen to release the follow up to 'Jackass Number Two', which came out in September 2006, as the first studio-backed movie feature to be streamed entirely online from release.

It is understood that Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment plans several further film releases in this format over the next year.

Fans will be able to view the entire film for free from Blockbuster's 'Jackass' homepage by downloading the Microsoft Silverlight media player.

The news follows yesterday's announcement that Hammer Films is to release its first film in three decades, 'Beyond the Rave', through News Corp-owned MySpace.

Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks, which produced 'Jackass 2.5' said they were confident they could match the same return of a full-blown cinema release, and that its decision to release online would begin a similar trend for other works.

Thomas Lesinski, president of Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment, said: "The 'Jackass' movie is the first of several features that we plan on distributing online and as the digital world evolves, Paramount will continue to turn digital distribution of content on its head."

'Jackass 2.5', which features the original series stars Johnny Knoxville, Preston Lacy, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius and Steve O, will also be released on DVD from December 26.

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