Catalog Saves Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Pandemic-Ravaged Fiscal Year

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment April 28 reported fourth-quarter and fiscal-year 2020 (ended March 31, 2021) revenue of $139 million and $778 million respectively. That was down 54% ($164 million) and 15% ($140 million), respectively, from the previous-year period ended just as the COVID-19 pandemic started.

The silver lining in the results is that nearly all of fiscal-year 2020 home entertainment revenue came from packaged media and digital sales of catalog movies such as Spider-Man: Far From Home, Venom, Blade Runner 2049 and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, among others. The lone new release in 2020, Bad Boys For Life, generated $424.5 million at the pre-pandemic global box office in fiscal-year 2019 — but sold $28 million in combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc units in 2020.

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The top-selling combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc in 2020 was Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which generated more than $48 million from 2.4 million discs.

When the theatrical pipeline returns to normal, Sony’s stockpile of content should flood the box office, retail and streaming distribution channels. The studio buttressed forward results with recently announced streaming video distribution agreements with Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu.

As a result of the pandemic, however, Sony Pictures’ delayed release of new theatrical movies in 2020 decimated the financial picture. The studio reported theatrical revenue of $53 million for all of 2020, compared with $1.7 billion in the previous fiscal year.

Sony Pictures Television production revenue fell 34% to $367 million, from $555 million in the previous-year period. For the fiscal year, revenue dropped less than 8% to $1.45 billion, from $1.56 billion in fiscal-year 2019.

Overall, studio revenue dropped about 24% to $7.1 billion, from $9.3 billion in fiscal-year 2019.


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