Another pandemic-era movie-going option, should you choose to accept it.
Paramount Pictures is the latest movie studio to adapt their theatrical release strategy in the age of COVID. With the help of their new streaming platform Paramount Plus, the distributor will release Mission: Impossible 7, A Quiet Place 2 , and Top Gun: Maverick on the streamer after a 45-day/6-week exclusive run in theaters.
First up is Top Gun: Maverick. The first of two Tom Cruise sequels will hit theaters on July 2, 2021. then Paramount Plus on August 13. Horror/Thriller sequel A Quiet Place: Part II is slated for September 17, with a Paramount Plus debut on October 29th — i.e. Halloween weekend. Mission: Impossible 7 is set for November 17 and Paramount Plus on December 29.
(NOTE: Some outlets are reporting Top Gun: Maverick as being part of the plan, others are not, while another references the action-sequel but doesn’t confirm it either way.)
Prior to the pandemic, the average theatrical-exclusive window was 90 days, so this decision cuts that in half.
It’s similar to Universal Studio’s current strategy — which has sent movies like News of the World and Let Him Go to VOD after just 17 days of theater play — but also more generous to its theatrical partners.
It’s also an acknowledgement that some form of theatrical-streaming hybrid will be required for all film releases through at least 2021.
Paramount’s plan is starkly different, however, than the HBO Max approach, which debuts Warner Bros. titles in theaters and on its streamer same-day.
Disney continues to make hybrid decisions on a film-by-film basis, having released Pixar’s Soul exclusively to their streamer at no additional charge. In other cases — such as the live-action Mulan last September and the upcoming animated Raya and the Last Dragon on March 5 — Disney Plus will require a $30 Premium Access fee. Also different: Mulan and Soul were exclusive to Disney Plus, but Raya will also open in theaters nationwide.
Of all these plans, Paramount Plus is maintaining the biggest investment in the theatrical experience. This may likely be, in part, out of necessity, given the scale of budgets and the need to maximize box office potential.
But it’s also long-term management, recognizing that theaters need to be saved if Hollywood wants to continue to produce lucrative tentpoles at a scale that viewers expect.
Paramount also noted that smaller, non-tentpole movies will follow a shorter 30-window from theater to Plus, but no specific titles were named.