Paramount+ to Debut New Mark Wahlberg Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Infinite’

Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) in June will exclusively debut the new science-fiction thriller Infinite, starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Antoine Fuqua, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said on the May 6 first-quarter (ended March 31) fiscal call.

The movie will skip theaters, Bakish said. It was originally slated to launch in theaters on Sept. 24 — then subsequently got pushed up to Memorial Day, according to Box Office Mojo.

The move mirrors WarnerMedia’s strategy to release the entire 2021 Warner Bros. theatrical slate concurrently on its streaming service HBO Max and in theaters — a strategy corporate parent AT&T has attributed to ongoing Max sub growth.

Paramount, which generated a record low $1 million in revenue during the 90-day fiscal period due to shuttered theaters, had previously announced shortened theatrical windows for  A Quiet Place Part II and Mission: Impossible 7 in an effort to expedite access on Paramount+. New “Paranormal Activity” and “Pet Sematary” releases will now also forgo theatrical distribution for the streamer.

Paramount previously licensed Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 and the comedy The Lovebirds to Netflix. The studio also licensed rights to Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, starring Michael B. Jordan, and Eddie Murphy sequel Coming 2 America to Amazon Prime Video. Oscar winner The United States vs. Billie Holiday was licensed to Hulu.

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Paramount+ will add 1,000 movies in June as part of a “Mountain of Movies” marketing campaign designed to upgrade the platform’s title count to 2,500.

“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,” Bakish said.

Streaming Video Service Quibi Discloses 2020 Launch Date, Pricing, Programming

Quibi (“quick bites”), the mobile-based subscription streaming video service created by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, is slated to launch April 6, 2020 with two pricing plans.

Katzenberg, who sold DreamWorks Animation to Comcast for $3.8 billion in 2016, and Meg Whitman, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and eBay, unveiled further details of the short-form video service backed by $1 billion in funding at recent media events in Los Angeles and Banff, Canada.

The $4.99 monthly plan will feature advertising, while a $7.99 plan will be ad-free.

“We’ve just raised $1 billion,” Whitman told attendees at the event hosted by the Producers Guild of America. “But we will go out to the market, in the fall or next spring. We don’t need the money right now, but we will need more to get to break even.”

With its deep pockets (Whitman expects to generate another $500 million in funding this year), Quibi has attracted mainstream talent both in front and behind the camera.

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Steven Spielberg is writing a horror series that will only be viewable at night. Speaking at the Banff World Media Festival June 9, Katzenberg said the episodic series, “Spielberg’s After Dark” will only be accessible after the user’s smartphone senses what time of the day it is.

Directors Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), Guillermo del Toro and Don Cheadle, among others, have projects underway with Quibi.

Katzenberg said the platform is targeting users with episodic content that is from seven-to-10 minutes long. Quibi promises 125  pieces of content weekly and 7,000 titles in the first year.

“What Quibi is doing, it’s not really short form,” Katzenberg said. “Chapters or act breaks … are specifically shot to be watched on the go. If you’re 25-35 years old, you get up and you’re on [a smartphone] for over five hours [a day].”

Sony Sets ‘Equalizer 2’ for Disc Dec. 11, Digital Nov. 13

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release The Equalizer 2 digitally Nov. 13, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Dec. 11.

Denzel Washington returns to the role of Robert McCall in the sequel to the 2014 thriller that itself was based on the 1980s TV series about a former intelligence agent who uses his skills to help people in danger.

The latest installment, again directed by Antoine Fuqua, finds McCall seeking revenge for the death of a friend. The cast also includes Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

The Equalizer 2 earned $102 million at the domestic box office.

Home video extras include the featurettes “Seconds Till Death: Action Breakdown” and “Through Antoine’s Lens: The Cast,” plus two NBA promos.

The Blu-ray and digital versions also include a “Retribution Mode” with Washington and Fuqua delving into the making of key scenes as the film plays out; a pop-up trivia track;  11 deleted and extended scenes; and a “Denzel as McCall: Round Two” featurette. Digital content may vary by retailer.