ViacomCBS President and CEO Bob Bakish said his shortened-theatrical windows plan for new movies is more “sustainable” than others.
Paramount Pictures movies will now have a theatrical window of 45 days, which will be shortened to 30 days for smaller films from the studio, before heading to ViacomCBS’ new SVOD (subscriber video on demand) platform Paramount+. The traditional theatrical window was 90 days, meaning this new approach either halves or cuts by two-thirds the industry’s former longstanding plan.
“I believe that is a sustainable offering. Some of these other film moves that have been made, it’s not clear to me they’re sustainable,” Bakish said on Tuesday. “But this move, it puts the titles in the theaters, so if people want to go and get a big-screen experience, they can do that.”
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“If you look at the curve, the degradations on most film titles, they do very list business on post-Day 30 and certainly post-Day 45,” Bakish, who was the morning’s keynote speaker at the (virtual) 2021 Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, continued. “So moving to an in-house streaming window at that part we think works, certainly for us, but also for constituents, including consumers.”
The new plan will begin with “A Quiet Place – Part II” and also be in place for “Mission: Impossible 7.” CBS All Access will rebrand — and expand — as Paramount+ on Thursday.
“We believe it’s the right model for the future,” Bakish concluded.
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As Bakish alluded, Paramount’s key competition is doing things a bit differently. Warner Bros. films in 2021 will launch simultaneously in theaters (where allowed) and on streaming service HBO Max. But that plan is only set in stone for this year, which was always going to be a weird one due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
New Universal films can stream as early as 17 days after they hit theaters, or 31 days if the film earns more than $50 million in its opening weekend, under a new pact with AMC and Cinemark theaters. NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, launched early on in the pandemic.
Disney has experimented with various different release strategies of its new films amid COVID. It has remained committed to theatrical releases of big tentpoles like Marvel’s “Black Widow,” but also experimented with simultaneous theatrical and streaming (Disney+) releases for films like “Mulan” and next month’s “Raya and the Last Dragon.”