ViacomCBS, the parent company to Paramount Studios, promises there is a strong commitment to theatrical releases of films but acknowledges the fact the release windows may shorten before streaming or other home releases become available. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish recently stated on an earnings conference call that Paramount "is an incredible asset" with a "powerful collection of IP" and "massive library" for theatrical releases. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has proved, some titles are being forced to take another look at their release strategies, such as Disney's Mulan which gave up on trying to find a theatrical date and recently head straight to a streaming service.
Bakish says Paramount has been "focused on protecting asset value" by preserving some of its biggest titles for, such as Top Gun Maverick, for 2021 when there is expected to be a "healthier" climate for cinemas and the box office. Other titles like Love Birds have been monetized early via streaming releases as a means to see a return on thee production investment ahead of a crowded 2021 landscape which has w"even more product" as the next box office year was "starting to look pretty full."
All of Paramount's remaining titles, including SpongeBob and G.I. Joe spinoff Snake Eyes have packed up and head to 2021 release dates in theaters.
"We really are in a COVID rules phase of the business right now," Bakish went on. "Studios, including Paramount, are doing some things they wouldn't normally do, because theaters are closed. Know: We remain committed to theatrical and believe a lot of this reverts once the world normalizes. But we do believe theatrical windows will probably shorten and some of these new monetization paths, including both strategic ones and others, probably will become more [common]."
Recently, this strategy was exhibited in a major deal between Universal Studios and AMC Theaters which significantly shortened the required release window of new films before they could be made available on demand, on a streaming service, or other home release platforms.
Are you hoping to see movie theaters bounce back and safely open their doors for the theatrical experience or do you prefer to watch new titles on your couch? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram!