Are you yearning for more streaming options? ViacomCBS will happily oblige. The conglomerate is gearing up to launch its new SVOD platform Paramount+ — which is technically a rebrand of its existing CBS All Access service — on March 4, and it is promising animation aplenty.
At its Investor Day on Wednesday, the company set out the details of the launch. By the summer, Paramount+ will have an impressive 2,500 feature films and 30,000 series episodes. There will be two pricing tiers: a premium plan at $9.99 and an ad-supported base plan at $4.99. The platform will also debut in Canada and Latin America on March 4, in the Nordics on March 25, and in Australia later in the year.
When it comes to animation, ViacomCBS is busy developing established franchises that come from its portfolio of brands: Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, etc. We’ve previously written about the company’s broad strategy for both family and adult animation. What follows are the animation-related highlights from the Wednesday presentation.
Avatar and Korra
The universe created in the hit series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra is set to keep growing. Nickelodeon has set up a new division, Avatar Studios, which will create original content based on the franchise.
Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators of the series, will lead the studio as co-chief creative officers. They will create titles for Paramount+, but also Nickelodeon’s linear and digital platforms, as well as third-party platforms and theaters. The studio’s first project will be an animated theatrical film, which is due to start production later this year.
The Rugrats reboot
The iconic Nickelodeon show will be revived as a cg-animated series, which will debut this spring on Paramount+. It will once again be produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio.
The main voice cast from the 1990s series are reprising their roles as the clique of toddlers. Eryk Casemiro and Kate Boutilier, producers on the original, are executive-producing, with Dave Pressler and Casey Leonard serving as co-executive producers, Rachel Lipman as co-producer, and Kellie Smith as line producer. Production is overseen by Mollie Freilich, Nickelodeon’s senior manager, current series animation.
Star Trek: Prodigy, an animated show originally conceived for Nickelodeon, will now premiere on Paramount+. The ten-episode series, which was created by Kevin and Dan Hageman (Netflix’s Trollhunters), will launch later in 2021. The second season of the animated Star Trek: Lower Decks (which started out as a CBS All Access original) will also come to Paramount+ this year. Ultimately, the streamer will be home to all Star Trek content.
The long-awaited hybrid feature The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is finally coming to U.S. audiences, having already premiered pretty much everywhere else. The film will be available on Paramount+ on March 4. Joining it at launch is the franchise’s first spin-off series, the cg-animated Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.
Untitled Beavis & Butt-head movie and series
Mike Judge has created a new Beavis & Butt-head feature film, which will debut on the streamer sometime in the next year, ahead of the previously-announced series launch.
Live-action Dora and Oddparents
Two popular animated Nickelodeon series, Dora the Explorer and The Fairly Oddparents, are returning in live-action form. Little is known about the reboots, which are in development for Paramount+, other than that they are said to be “in the vein of” the 2019 live-action feature film Dora and the Lost City of Gold.
Shortened theatrical windows
Following rival studios, Paramount Pictures has seized the opportunity presented by the pandemic to ditch the traditional 90-day theatrical window. It will try out a 45-day window for tentpoles and 30 days for other releases. After that period, the films will be free to move to Paramount+ and elsewhere.
Among the titles that will exclusively stream on the platform after a shortened theatrical run is Paw Patrol: The Movie, a spin-off from the wildly popular preschool show which is due to come out in cinemas on August 20.