Paramount Global’s streaming service Paramount+ is continuing to invest in original content sourced from international markets, unveiling a slate of seven new titles, mostly series, on Monday that will debut around the world and saying it is planning to commission 150 international originals by 2025.
The new internationally originated programming, including a show about former Mexican drug lord El Chapo’s wife and former American teenage beauty queen, with John Leguizamo producing and starring as El Chapo, will be produced in partnership with VIS, Paramount’s international studio, part of the entertainment conglomerate’s portfolio of studios that spans more than 20 countries.
The slate of originals includes projects from Germany, Italy, France and Mexico. The slate news came ahead of the launch of Paramount+ in the UK and Ireland on Wednesday.
The Paramount subscription VOD service previously unveiled an ambitious commitment to greenlighting 50 international scripted originals in 2022, with titles announced in the past including the likes of Sexy Beast (from the UK), The Chemistry of Death (Germany), Bose (Spain), failure (Italy), Impact (France) and The Envoys (The Envoys) (Mexico), among others.
Combining global franchises and local fare is a key ingredient of success for Paramount+ as it continues to enter markets around the globe, Marco Nobili, who was recently promoted to the role of executive vp, international general manager of Paramount+, told THR. “As we expand into more markets, including South Korea (last week), the UK and Ireland now and then more later this year, we not only bring our global hits to those countries, but are also developing a lot of content,” he explained. Paramount+ similarly emphasized that it “offers an expansive lineup of premium locally originated programming, in addition to its global content, serving all types of audiences in all markets where the service is available.”
In addition to unveiling the new originals, Paramount+ on Monday also revealed casting details for the previously announced The Chemistry of Death, a psychological crime series based on Beckett’s bestselling novels that will debut in all of the streamer’s international markets. The show will star Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful, Star Trek: Picard) as forensic anthropologist Dr. David Hunter, alongside Katie Leung (The Peripheral, The Wheel of Time), Jeanne Goursaud (barbarians), Nick Blood (close to me, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Amy Nuttall (downton abbey), David Hayman (TopBoy) and Hardy Krüger Jr. (Uppercut, Stauffenberg). Shooting of the six-episode series began in mid-May and will continue through the end of August.
“Paramount’s story began with the longest-running studio in Hollywood, and today we span the globe with our worldwide production studios that create hits for audiences around the world, which now live all in one place: Paramount+,” Nobili said in a statement. “As the service continues to expand around the world, there’s a great opportunity for content to travel globally, opening up a world of opportunities for talent and creators, while delivering incredible value to subscribers on Paramount+.”
Here is a closer look at the titles that make up the new slate of international originals unveiled on Monday.
First Lady of Sinaloa (Mexico)
With John Leguizamo producing and starring, the series will chronicle “the fascinating yet volatile life of (former Mexican drug lord) El Chapo’s infamous Beauty Queen Bride, Emma Coronel, an innocent farm girl turned fierce icon who rises to become Mexico’s most formidable crime wife .” Producer Frida Torresblanco (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Assassination of Richard Nixon) is also producing the show, described as a “story of love, sex, drugs and danger.”
Produced by VIS in association with Braven Films, the series has been greenlit for development and is planned to “debut exclusively on Paramount+ in Latin America and all international markets.”
One Must Die (Mexico)
A suspense thriller movie that centers around seven people who are kidnapped and suddenly find themselves part of a deadly game. “As the clock ticks, to survive the seven participants must choose one to die, and the chosen one will have to agree,” according to a plot description. The project stars director Manolo Cardona, Maribel Verdú, Carla Adell, Juan Carlos Remolina, Adriana Paz, Dagoberto Gama and Fernando Becerril.
Produced by VIS in association with 11:11 Films, the project will debut exclusively on Paramount+ in all international markets.
The Sheikh (Der Scheich) (Germany)
Inspired by true events, the series tells the story of a one-of-a-kind artist. Ringo (Björn Meyer), a simple man ridiculed as the village idiot in his hometown, reinvents himself as the heir of an Arabic fortune. “With nothing but a bunch of tall tales and a fabricated bank statement for $8 billion, he becomes every Swiss investor’s dream, bringing Switzerland’s political and economic system to the brink of a national crisis,” according to the show summary.
The tragicomic series is produced by X Filme Creative Pool and VIS, created and written by award-winning filmmaker Dani Levy (Alles auf Zucker!, Die Känguru-Chroniken), who directs together with Johannes Naber (Curveball, Zeit der Kannibalen). It stars Petra Schmidt-Schaller, Sylvester Groth, Carol Schuler, Philippe Graber and Pasquale Aleardi.
A Thin Line (Germany)
“Young ‘hacktivist’ twin sisters Anna (Saskia Rosendahl) and Benni (Hanna Hilsdorf) are inseparable in their quest to expose environmental wrongdoing by any means necessary,” reads the plot summary. “But when their hack into a government server leads to a police raid, Anna is captured, and Benni disappears into the underground. When it becomes apparent Benni is lending her skills to a radical new terrorist group that does not shy away from violent action against state and corporations, the sisters suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of the question: what line are you willing to cross for something you believe in?”
Produced by Weydemann Bros. Serial Drama in association with VIS, the show is set to debut exclusively in all international Paramount+ markets.
The show tells the story of the aftermath of a crime that came to be known as “The Circeo Massacre,” which upset Italy in the 1970s after two teenage girls were found in the trunk of a car in Rome, naked, wrapped in blankets and drenched in blood. One was dead, the other one alive. Focusing on the trial that followed and centering on the lone surviving victim, Donatella, “the series reflects on a watershed moment in the path of the emancipation of Italian women, demanding (and eventually obtaining) the wholesale revision of laws on sexual violence,” the show summary reads.
circle is written by Flaminia Gressi, Viola Rispoli and Lisa Nur Sultan and directed by Andrea Molaioli. Produced by Cattleya in partnership with VIS for Paramount+ and Rai in Italy, the series will also debut on Paramount+ in France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
MASK: Marie Antoinette Serial Killer (France)
This eight-hour young adult fantasy horror thriller series is based on the 2013 novel Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender and developed and created by executive producers Beth Tapper and Mitch Watson, with Leila Smith (Lockout, Hitman, Find Me in Paris) also serving as executive producer. The series follows four American girls on spring break in Paris. “While exploring the edgy side of the city, they find themselves caught up in a mysterious, almost supernatural murder spree that soon becomes very personal,” according to a plot summary. “Could the murderer be the ghost of the late queen Marie Antoinette? And why is it chasing them?
The series is currently in advanced development and is produced by VIS and Cottonwood Media. It is scheduled to debut exclusively on Paramount+ in France and all of the streamer’s international markets.
Murder of God’s Banker (international)
The four-part docuseries recounts the murder of Italian fugitive banker Roberto Calvi, whose body was found hanging off a London bridge. “Although his death was initially declared a suicide, it is later uncovered that many wanted Calvi dead,” according to the show description. “He had presided over the collapse of a major Italian bank whose largest shareholder was none other than the Vatican. This revelation blows the lid off the secretive world of the Vatican’s financial system – a world populated by priests, mobsters and neo-fascists. What looks like the simple story of a dead banker becomes one of international intrigue.”
Produced by CreativeChaos in association with VIS, the show will debut on Paramount+ in all its international markets.