EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films will become part of the CBS Entertainment Group, sources said. There will be some layoffs as a result, as the label focuses on streaming-centric content. This has been in the discussion stage for a while, a result of the shifting dynamics of the independent art house space, and trying to survive when you are not making tentpoles.
CBS Films launched in 2007 and in recent years its biggest films get released through Lionsgate, which today also consolidated and is losing some staffers. CBS Films has in release the Julian Schnabel-directed At Eternity’s Gate, which has put Willem Dafoe in the Best Actor Oscar awards mix. The film is currently in art house release and has passed the $2 million gross mark.
We will see how all this plays out. The label could be a strong provider of content for CBS All Access, which has been gaining traction with Star Trek Discovery, and with several spinoffs coming.
This also becomes an interesting wrinkle in the ongoing speculation that Viacom and CBS will be rejoined after all these years. Deadline revealed this week that the CBS board was putting the brakes on finding a new CEO because merger talks between the company and Viacom are back on the agenda.
I’ve just gotten a statement from the CBS Corp:
“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. This will allow the company to further focus its entertainment resources on its television, digital and streaming businesses. Prior to shifting its focus to streaming-centered content, the division will continue to execute their distribution and marketing strategies in support of forthcoming releases Five Feet Apart, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Pavarotti and Lexi. We are grateful for the continued leadership of Terry Press and the passionate efforts of everyone at CBS Films.”