ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish has announced plans to bring one new original film to streaming platform Paramount+ every week in 2022.
ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish has announced that the studio is planning to bring one original film per week to the streaming platform Paramount+ in 2022. First launched as CBS All Access in 2014, the service recently underwent a rebranding to its current namesake. With a new push to draw in a wider demographic with more family-friendly programming, the service has seen a strong increase in subscribers of late and ViacomCBS now has 36 million viewers across Paramount+, Showtime, and BET Plus.
With theaters remaining closed for most of 2020, studios were forced to reconfigure their plans for releasing their tentpole titles, most being delayed indefinitely until Warner Bros. came along with its same-day theatrical and HBO Max release plan. After Disney+ announced its Premier Access titles, many of which would debut simultaneously in theaters, eyes turned towards Paramount for their plans as films including The Lovebirds and Without Remorse were sold off to other platforms. Following The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run‘s release on the streamer and its success, the decision was made to bring some upcoming films directly to Paramount+, including Mark Wahlberg-fronted Infinite.
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In a first-quarter earnings conference call (via THR), Bakish praised the Antoine Fuqua-directed Infinite as “a fun film” that he believes will create a “lot of noise” for both the studio and the streaming platform. This, Bakish said, is part of a build-up to an ambitious plan to release one original movie per week on the platform starting in 2022. The ViacomCBS CEO also revealed plans to expand Paramount+’s film catalog this summer with a “Mountain of Movies” campaign including the additions of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, Rocketman, Sonic the Hedgehog, and more hit films to the library. Bakish also confirmed the dedication to a number of future films sticking with a post-theatrical streaming debut on the platform, including John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II.
“We will follow that with the Paw Patrol movie – a treat for families eagerly awaiting a feature-length version of the most popular pre-school characters in the world. In addition, new original movies like Paranormal Activity, and The In Between will premiere on Paramount+ by the end of ’21. All of this is a preview to a substantial ramping up of original movies next year, when we expect to begin averaging an original movie a week in 2022.”
Though consumers are certainly ready to return to some kind of normality as vaccines go out around the world and restrictions are slowly lifted on public gatherings, ViacomCBS’ dedication to still bolster its library with original releases is quite promising for audiences. With Warner Bros. already confirming a plan to return to exclusive theatrical releases next year and Disney+’s release future currently unknown, it would leave a void from a major studio of bringing tentpole projects directly to audiences who need to or desire staying home. Having films with A-list talent such as Mark Wahlberg stream for no additional charge to subscribers right away will help establish Paramount+ as a streaming contender to the mammoths of Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+.
That being said, Bakish didn’t give any examples of what these original movies might be, creating the possibility that this weekly plan could simply spawn low-to-mid-level budget titles that wouldn’t be greenlit for production for theatrical releases. Netflix’s library of original films is certainly a mixed bag of efforts encompassing masterpieces to duds and everything in between, so unless the studio already has a plan for what films will follow this weekly schedule, it may run into some bumps in the road regarding the quality of its releases. For now, fans can at least look forward to the confirmed titles coming their way to Paramount+ over the next 12 months.
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