Mark Wahlberg And Director Antoine Fuqua Were Blindsided By News That 'Infinite' Would Debut On Paramount+

As Hollywood struggled to survive during the pandemic era, one tactic seems to have become commonplace: studios making big announcements about how and where films are going to debut. But the controversial aspect of that tactic is that those decision have frequently been made without giving enough of a heads-up to the directors and stars who are affected by those announcements.

The latest recipients of this treatment? Director Antoine Fuqua and star Mark Wahlberg, who were blindsided by the news that their upcoming science fiction movie Infinite is going to debut directly on the new Paramount+ streaming service.

The Hollywood Reporter published a piece suggesting that this blindsiding technique may become the new normal in the world of movies – at least while the pandemic is still affecting movie releases. According to their report, "Wahlberg, director Antoine Fuqua and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura had no inkling an announcement was coming" when word came out regarding Infinite's release earlier this month, making them the latest in a long line of entertainment industry figures who had their deals changed on them by the studios who control the films they created.

It began a year ago with Trolls World Tour, the animated movie that remarkably made history by becoming the focal point for a fight between studios and theater chains as the pandemic forced both sides to alter their normal ways of conducting business. Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick, that movie's stars, were not told ahead of time about the studio's decision to drop the film directly on VOD, and since their contracts had bonuses built in based on hitting certain milestones at the box office, they were not thrilled about that revenue possibility being suddenly taken off the table.

The same thing happened last December, only with far more money in the balance. That's when WarnerMedia announced that each of Warner Bros.' 2021 feature films would debut in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, but the company did not give almost any of the filmmakers affected adequate notice about that decision. (In the Heights director Jon M. Chu was given a heads up 15 minutes before the rest of the world found out.) That lack of communication ended up costing the company more than $200 million in payments to talent, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But while Paramount+ didn't seem to get the memo and surprised Wahlberg and Fuqua with their news, at least one studio seems to have read the room: THR says that Disney spent three weeks negotiating with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt before revealing that their new movie Jungle Cruise would be released day-and-date on Disney+ with Premier Access.