EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has quietly extended the studio’s output deal with MGM+ through 2025, sources tell Deadline. The companies’ last pact, inked in 2021, ran through December 2023, and another extension was not a given since there have been major changes at the network — known as Epix at the time of the deal — in the two years since. It got new ownership as well as a new name, MGM+, following MGM’s 2022 acquisition by Amazon.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the Pay 1 deal was extended sometime last year to go through the ’25 Paramount Pictures slate under the terms of the renegotiated 2021 agreement that allow for most of the studio’s theatrical movies to premiere first on Paramount+ before going to MGM+. (The latest, 2023 summer tentpole Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, just set a Jan. 25 premiere date on Paramount+ in the U.S. and Canada, followed by a February rollout in international markets.)
More from Deadline
Paramount Global in 2022 announced that, starting with 2024 film releases, Paramount+ will become the streaming home for all new Paramount Pictures movies in the U.S. following their theatrical runs.
That will include the studio’s first big movie of 2024, box office hit Mean Girls. Under the deal with MGM+, Paramount has been buying out Pay 1 windows for the movies that go to Paramount+ first.
Strategies around the Pay 1 window have gotten more complex during the streaming era. Historically, Pay 1 deals between studios and premium cable networks were financial bedrocks of the film release model, oases of stability in the unpredictable feature film business. More recently, with shifts in consumer expectation and challenges to theatrical moviegoing during Covid, major media companies have been more willing to upend the old structure. NBCUniversal’s Peacock has made Universal’s slate available in the Pay 1 window, and execs have said the recent theatrical releases have been a key driver of new subscriptions.
The 2021 Epix agreement modified Paramount Pictures’ original five-year output deal signed at the time of the network’s 2017 launch as a co-venture among Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM. (Epix subsequently became fully owned by MGM, which bought out its two partners.)
Under the 2021 deal, Paramount Pictures also has been paying MGM+ to sub-license older titles and non-Paramount movies licensed by the network, including titles from MGM and Sony Pictures. Epix previously had “white label” deals for its movie titles with Amazon and Hulu. Both have expired, with the films steered by Paramount Pictures to Paramount+.
Dade Hayes contributed to this report.
Best of Deadline