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ViacomCBS CEO: Paramount Sticking With Multiple Theatrical Windows

With accelerated access to Paramount Pictures’ theatrical releases driving subscriber growth at Paramount+, the studio might appear eager to shorten the theatrical window to as little as 17 days (three weekends) as Universal Pictures does on select movies.

That was the question posed to ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish on the media giant’s Nov. 4 fiscal call. Bakish, who is staking much of the company’s future on streaming, including ad-supported VOD and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST), said the popularity of streaming and a resurging box office underscore the need to apply a multiple-release strategy on theatrical movies.

Paramount is employing the new industry standard 45-day theatrical window on most releases (shortened from 90 days), while mixing in shorter windows for select titles (i.e. A Quiet Place Part II), and concurrent streaming access on Paramount+ for others (Paw Patrol: The Movie).

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A Quiet Place Part II generated almost $300 million at the global box office, including $160 million at domestic screens, while being offered early on Paramount+. Paw Patrol: The Movie generated $128 million globally, including $40 million domestically, while streaming concurrently on the SVOD since its box office debut.

In the third quarter, Paramount deployed three different release models for theatrical titles, including “exclusive premier,” “day-and-date,” and “45-day window.”

“We’re experimenting with a bunch of [release] models on the Paramount+ side based on what we think is best for a specific film, obviously keeping in mind all the constituents involved in that,” Bakish said.

“The reality is, we see them all work,” he said. “So, it’s not a question of moving away one [window] or the other. We’re going to continue to optimize on a per-film basis. We’re definitely not moving off the ’45-day fast fall.'”

Bakish reiterated that the Quiet Place sequel performed well at the box office, despite the pandemic, while also driving Paramount+ subs. The executive said this weekend’s (Nov. 5) theatrical release, Clifford the Big Red Dog, would stream concurrently on Paramount+.

“We think [the] kids and family [market] in this continued COVID time, [that] these films are right for day-and-date release,” he said.

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