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ViacomCBS CEO: Same-Day Movie Releases for Paramount+ Family Films, 45-Day Theatrical Window for Other Titles

Michael King

ViacomCBS is using multiple models for its movie release strategy, as evidenced by PAW Patrol: The Movie — which was released day-and-date in theaters and on Paramount+ simultaneously, versus A Quiet Place Part II, which was released in theaters with a 45-day window before it appeared on streaming platforms.

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish, speaking during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference on Wednesday, said the company is testing different release models to maximize the value of films, “particularly in this COVID-ruled space.”

“It’s not that we’re going one direction for every film. We’re actually using a strategy which has a range of tactics, again, designed to maximize the value of a film across this now broader ecosystem,” Bakish said. “But as we do that, theatrical definitely still matters.”

Referring to PAW Patrol, Bakish pointed out that the July release was the company’s first day-and-date release.

“We think that’s actually a very good model for kids and family films, again, particularly in this COVID-impacted time, because it gives consumes optionality to view the product where they feel the most comfortable, and we did a bunch of research on that,” he said. “The result of that move … was a film which did very well both theatrically and it was a significant driver for Paramount+, where it’s actually now one of the most-watched originals to date.”

The animated family film has generated $37.2 million in domestic theaters with a worldwide gross of $103.3 million. Bakish said that as a result, the company is very pleased with a day-and-date strategy for families.

He said that they also plan to do some additional direct-to-Paramount+ exclusive films, following the experience they had with the summer release of Infinite.

“We’ve got two coming shortly in the form of Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin and The Space Between,” he said, saying that this was a better option for films considered to be at lower budget levels. “(This) is a complelling value creation opportunity for streaming.”

“For the bigger films … We like to do (a) ‘fast-follow’ theatrical to Pay-1 strategy of 45 days,” he said. “I continue to think that’s the sweet spot of driving theatrical revenue and streaming growth in general. We used that strategy very effectively for A Quiet Place Part II.”

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