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Viacom Kicks 'Jackass' to the Net

The stuntmen's latest movie will skip theaters.
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A new


is flouting Hollywood's conventions.

The third installment of the


movies, spin-offs from the former MTV show starring Johnny Knoxville and his band of hooligans, will bypass movie theaters altogether and go straight to the Internet.

Jackass 2.5

, a combination of unreleased footage from

Jackass Number Two

and new content, was announced Thursday as a joint venture between


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Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks.

The fresh dose of gross-out stunts will be available for fans free of charge at from Dec. 19 through Dec. 31. After Christmas, DVDs of the film will be available for purchase on the site and at major retailers, and it will be available for rent at


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stores and on the company's Web site.

The film will also be available for download at


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and other online destinations for a price.

"We are very excited to be able to deliver

Jackass 2.5

, the first feature-length movie from a major studio which will debut free on the Internet," said Thomas Lesinski, president of Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment, in a statement. "The


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."

The film also is being used to promote -- a Web site that will be launched officially by MTV and Knoxville's Dickhouse Productions in February as the "home of all things Jackass."



films are perhaps uniquely suitable for online distribution, since the movies are a series of documentary-style clips that can be watched on their own as well as together in a feature-length film. They're also popular with younger audiences that are immersed in the Internet and a highly prized but elusive target for advertisers.

"There's no better franchise than


to launch our new media division," said David Gale, executive vice president of new media for MTV Networks' music group. "With

Jackass 2.5

and soon, we're giving fans cool, viral content that's perfect for the digital space."

The venture is sure to garner online buzz and ruffle feathers in the traditional film industry, where box office receipts are viewed as a rite of passage and the rise of the Internet has been wreaking havoc. The collaborators behind

Jackass 2.5

are aiming to make money from DVD sales, downloads and embedded ads online.