Paramount Global president and CEO Bob Bakish talked up box office success in the company’s Q2 earnings call on Thursday (August 4), led by the $1.3bn global performance of Top Gun: Maverick.
Theatrical revenue grew by $630m year-on-year to $764m and the company highlighted Paramount’s all-time biggest hit as well as other four number one releases so this year: Scream, The Lost City, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and Jackass Forever.
Maverick drove a 126% year-on-year rise in filmed entertainment revenue and currently ranks as the biggest Hollywood release of the year to date and has become the studio’s top release globally, internationally and in North America. It now sits in the all-time top 10 North American box office pantheon.
Bakish said delaying the theatrical release of Maverick had been the right decision. “In the early stages of the pandemic, we were very selective with our releases, holding certain films until market conditions improved,” he said. “While we couldn’t release Top Gun: Maverick and The Lost City earlier, we held off because we knew these phenomenal stories would bring audiences back to theaters. That proved to be the right call.”
However Paramount Global profits dropped for the quarter partly due to content spend and operating income fell 33% to $819m. Total revenue climbed 19% to $7.79bn.
CFO Naveen Chopra said in a video call that streaming losses would amount to around $1.8bn in 2022 and were expected to peak in 2023. Chopra said spending would be in the $6bn range through 2024 and the subscriber target is 100m for all the company’s platforms by 2024.
Paramount+ revenue increased by 120% and the platform reported a 3.7m net gain to reach 43.3m subscribers – 4.9m new members minus the loss of 1.2m in Russia after the service was suspended due to the war in Ukraine. Bakish said growth was driven by bundled launches in the UK with Sky and Ireland and with CJ ENM in South Korea. The service launches in Italy in September bundled with Sky; Germany, Austria and Switzerland in December bundled with Sky; and France with Canal+.
He highlighted content like Halo, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and Champions League football on the service.
Direct-to-consumer revenue grew 56% year-on-year to $1.19bn, although operating losses reached $445m due to content spend and international roll-out. Bakish advised that the company’s streaming services will be operational in 60 countries by the end of the year.