CBS Films will be folded into CBS Entertainment Group over the next 12 months, Variety has learned.
Before that change takes place, the company is committed to releasing its next four scheduled films in theaters. They include “Five Feet Apart,” “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” “Pavarotti,” and “Lexi.” Several of these movies are being distributed through the company’s partnership with Lionsgate.
After the last of these films debuts in cinemas, CBS Films’ mandate will shift towards finding content for the company’s streaming services. These platforms will likely include CBS All Access, the media conglomerate’s major entry into the streaming space, but details are still being worked out. CBS Films President Terry Press is expected to continue to lead the division. CBS Films’ name will continue on CBS Films releases.
“As part of our ongoing optimization of CBS operations, CBS Films will be folded into the larger CBS Entertainment Group over the course of 2019,” said a statement from CBS corporation. “This will allow the company to further focus its entertainment resources on its television, digital and streaming businesses…We are grateful for the continued leadership of Terry Press and the passionate efforts of everyone at CBS Films.”
The move comes as the theatrical market for mid-budget movies and arthouse releases is constricting and moving more towards the digital arena. With major studios increasingly focused on big-budget superhero movies and franchises, players like Netflix and Amazon have been filling the void by backing dramas, thrillers, romantic comedies, and other genres that are no longer appearing as regularly in cinemas.
CBS Films also lost a prominent supporter after Leslie Moonves was ousted from the company last summer in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. Joseph Ianniello has replaced Moonves as acting CEO.
CBS Films has just over 30 staffers, with some layoffs expected beginning in mid-March. Its major releases include the Oscar-nominated “Hell or High Water,” the horror film “Winchester,” and the acclaimed new Vincent van Gogh biopic “At Eternity’s Gate.” Its next release, the romantic drama “Five Feet Apart,” opens in March.