Starting with the studio’s 2022 slate, titles will appear on Peacock as soon as 45 days after their theatrical and PVOD releases. UFEG’s existing PVOD deals with exhibition will remain in place.
The announcement of the plan did not indicate plans for more day-and-date releases on Peacock like this year’s Halloween Kills, though fresh theatrical fare does move the needle in streaming. Peacock, which launched in the same span of months when higher fliers like Disney+ came to market, had 20 million monthly active users as of last summer. NBCU chief Jeff Shell recently proclaimed that it is “way ahead” of internal projections. At an investor day in January 2020, NBCU said it expected to reach 30 million to 35 million users in five years.
Nevertheless, the notion of some more recent film titles getting an exclusive run on Peacock can only help the service gain much-needed notice. Given the timing of its launch, the pipeline of original programming was not as full as it could have been due to Covid, an issue that also bedeviled HBO Max.
The 2022 UFEG theatrical slate includes The 355, a spy thriller with Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Bingbing Fan, Diane Kruger and Lupita Nyong’o; Ticket To Paradise, with George Clooney and Julia Roberts; The Black Phone from Blumhouse Productions starring Ethan Hawke; and Marry Me, starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. New movies from DreamWorks Animation include The Bad Guys; Downton Abbey: A New Era from Focus Features; Ambulance, a Michael Bay thriller; and what is billed as the “final” installment of the Halloween franchise, Halloween Ends.
“As we continue investing in the most valued and sought-after content for Peacock, films are essential to that mix,” said Kelly Campbell, who arrived earlier this year as president of Peacock. “The team at Universal Filmed Entertainment Group are fantastic partners and we are excited to bring their amazing slate of blockbuster films and beloved franchises to Peacock as early as 45 days after their theatrical release, and provide a steady stream of fresh, original films exclusively for Peacock customers throughout the year.”
Peter Levinsohn, Vice Chairman and Chief Distribution Officer for UFEG, said “prioritizing the theatrical experience” and “eventizing our world class content” remain priorities. “By ensuring our upcoming slate has both a theatrical window and timely Peacock debut, we satisfy the needs and expectations for key stakeholders across the spectrum, from our filmmakers and producing partners, to cinemagoers and Peacock subscribers,” he added.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.