Out of the major “theatrical” movie studios, Paramount has probably had the most interesting year. In February 2020, they released “Sonic the Hedgehog” to big box office. And then COVID happened.
A big question on everyone’s minds was: Is Paramount going to send some of its films to the CBS All Access streaming service? The answer was “Yes”, but it took a little while (and a major branding change) to get there.
Paramount decided to delay some of its major releases several times, including “Top Gun Maverick” and “A Quiet Place: Part II”, which are still scheduled to open this year. They will be in theaters and then, after about a month and a half, on the re-named, re-launched Paramount+.
In the early days of this pandemic, Paramount decided to sell some films to various streaming services. Comedy “The Lovebirds” went to Netflix. So did Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, which is now a Golden Globe winner and Academy Awards frontrunner.
Lee Daniels’ “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”, which has earned star Andra Day a Golden Globe, is on Hulu. Still in development animated films “Luck” and “Spellbound” were sent to AppleTV+. Eddie Murphy comedy sequel “Coming 2 America” and upcoming Michael B. Jordan action movie “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse” are now Amazon Prime Video releases.
There were discussions that Amazon would also take Chris Pratt’s “The Tomorrow War”, but the deal has not been finalized. Offers also came-in from Netflix and AppleTV+ for “Top Gun Maverick”, but Paramount declined them.
Last Fall, Paramount chose to still distribute a couple titles in theaters and with simultaneous VOD debuts: horror film “Spell” and the largely overlooked action romance “Love and Monsters”.
The wild card in all of this: “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”. Last August, it did get a theatrical run… in Canada… grossing $5 million. Overseas, it debuted on Netflix. And now, in the U.S., it kicks-off Paramount+ (and is also available to rent on Digital platforms).
Now the question is: How big can Paramount+ get among the crowded streaming service market? And here’s another one: How many people will wait to watch films like AQP2 and TGM at home… and will they WANT to watch them at home? The same goes for “Clifford the Big Red Dog”, the latest “Scream”, “Jackass 4” the “Sonic” sequel and even “Paw Patrol: The Movie”.