Imax Board Appoints New Chairman, Member

The board of directors of Imax Corp. has elected longstanding board member Darren Throop — founder, CEO and president of Entertainment One (eOne) — its chairman.

At its annual and special meeting of shareholders June 9, Imax shareholders also elected Steve Pamon, former president and chief operating officer of Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment, to join the Board.

Both appointments are effective immediately.

“Darren has been a strong, influential leader on the IMAX Board, expanding on his brilliant career in building eOne into a global content force from the ground up,” Rich Gelfond, CEO of Imax, said in a statement. “Darren’s expertise in maximizing the value of global brands, scaling businesses and navigating the evolving content landscape will continue to be instrumental to our growth strategy.

“Steve is a seasoned and versatile business leader with a track record of entrepreneurship and innovation in entertainment throughout his successful career. Steve’s expertise at the intersection of entertainment, technology, and cutting-edge consumer experiences will be important to Imax as we seek to grow and create new opportunities for our global brand.”

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“I’m so pleased to take on this role and continue working alongside Rich, the Imax leadership team and my fellow Board members to drive the business forward, especially as we enter a new era of the moviegoing experience,” Throop said in a statement. “Imax’s commitment to innovative technology is unmatched, and I’m excited to help steer their growth strategy as they continue to bring awe-inspiring, immersive experiences to audiences around the world.”

“From my teenage years working at the Ominmax Theatre in Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, I have dreamed of playing a role in the transformative experience of an Imax presentation,” Pamon said in a statement. “Joining the Board of Directors of Imax is more than an appointment; it is a dream come true.”

An Imax director since June 2015, Throop founded eOne — an international entertainment company specializing in the acquisition, production and distribution of film and TV content — and has served as its president and CEO since 2003. Throop will continue to serve as a member of Imax’s compensation committee. Most recently, Throop engineered the $3.8 billion sale of eOne to Hasbro in 2019.

At Parkwood Entertainment, Pamon was the architect of the successful “On the Run” tour and was awarded both a Grammy Award for Homecoming and a Peabody Award for the visual album Lemonade as executive producer. Prior to joining Parkwood, he held executive positions at JPMorgan Chase & Co., the NFL and HBO. Pamon also sits on the board of World Wresting Entertainment, the board of New York Road Runners — a nonprofit organization that produces more than 100 sports events each year including the famed New York City Marathon — and is a founding advisory board member for the “Launch with GS” fund, Goldman Sachs’ $500 million dollar investment fund that aims to increase access to capital and connections for diverse entrepreneurs.

Shout! Factory Slates 35th Anniversary Steelbook for ‘The Transformers: The Movie’

The Transformers: The Movie will be issued in a limited-edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook from Shout! Factory, in collaboration with eOne, a Hasbro company, on Aug. 3, in time for the film’s 35th anniversary.

The packaging features new key art by celebrated comic artist Matt Ferguson. The release also includes an all-new 4K transfer of the movie in widescreen with HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, the film in HD full frame on Blu-ray, immersive bonus content including never-before-seen feature-length storyboards, plus four exclusive art cards.

The 4K edition will include new bonus materials such as feature-length storyboards, including deleted, alternate and extended sequences; and the Fathom Events 30th anniversary featurette, including Stan Bush’s acoustic performances of “The Touch” and “Dare.” The combo pack will also include previously released extras including the “‘Til All Are One” retrospective documentary, audio commentary, legacy featurettes, animated storyboards, and trailers and TV spots.

Fans who pre-order from shoutfactory.com will also receive a limited-edition 18×24-inch lithograph with new art by Ferguson, while supplies last.

On Sept. 28, Shout! Factory will issue two additional 35th anniversary editions of The Transformers: The Movie: a standard 4K UHD + Blu-ray combo pack and a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack.

The standard 4K edition includes the all-new 4K transfer of the movie in widescreen along with the HD full frame version and new bonus material. The full-length storyboards and Fathom featurette are exclusive to the 4K editions.

The Blu-ray + DVD combo pack is a reissue of the 30th anniversary combo pack, featuring the movie in HD full frame on Blu-ray as well as a widescreen edition on DVD, and new box art.

These configurations will be available for pre-order later this summer from Shout! Factory.

Under license from Shout! Factory, The Transformers: The Movie Steelbook and standard 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays will also be released in the United Kingdom this September.

Pandemic Drops Hasbro Q1 Movie & TV Revenue 37%

The pandemic continues to impact entertainment distributors as evidenced by Hasbro’s April 27 disclosure that it saw film and TV show revenue decline 37% to $166.4 million in the first quarter (ended March 28). The segment, which includes the acquisition of Canadian-based Entertainment One (eOne), reported revenue of $264 million in the previous-year period.

Overall movie, TV and entertainment revenue fell 34% to $194.3 million, from $292.5 million a year earlier.

Beginning with the first quarter, Hasbro realigned its financial reporting segments and business units, in order to align its segment financial reporting more closely with its current business structure — and ongoing effects of the pandemic.

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Hasbro CFO Deborah Thomas

The new “entertainment” segment saw revenue decline 32% to $218.7 million, from $322.5 million. Operating income turned profitable at $17 million compared with a loss of $64.3 million in the previous-year period. Much of that loss was attributed to costs associated with the $4 billion acquisition of eOne.

Hasbro said entertainment revenue declined due to expected difficult comparisons in the TV and film business from the pre-pandemic ecosystem. The theatrical business continues to be impacted by COVID-related theater shutdowns, whereas in Q1 2020 theaters were open for most of the quarter.

The company said scripted TV show distribution is expected to increase later in the current year and Hasbro is targeting returning to 2019 levels of revenue for the full-year 2021 in the TV and Film business. Adjusted operating profit in movies and TV show production declined on the lower revenue, partially offset by reduced advertising and promotional spend due to the lack of theatrical activity this year versus last.

“Our first quarter started the year well,” CFO Deborah Thomas said in a statement.

Hasbro’s eOne Posts Q4 Profit, Ups Revenue Despite Pandemic

Hasbro’s Entertainment One (eOne) subsidiary Feb. 8 reported fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 27, 2020) operating income of $46 million, compared with an operating loss of $34.8 million during the previous-year period, (ended Dec. 29, 2019) based on an adjusted pro-forma basis. Revenue increased 10% to $259.6 million, from $235.2 million. Hasbro acquired eOne for $4 billion in Q1 2020.

Revenue increased in the quarter as live-action TV and film production resumed. 2020 operating profit included $34.7 million of acquisition and related charges, and $25.5 million of purchased intangible amortization associated with the fair value of acquired intangible assets.

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Hasbro’s film and TV production revenue declined 15% to $110 million, from $130.2 million in the previous-year period on lower consumer products revenue as well as lower entertainment revenue, partially offset by growth in digital gaming. The previous 2019 quarter included Bumblebee movie revenue in partnership with Paramount Pictures. Operating profit decreased due to lower revenue, partially offset by growth in licensed digital gaming and cost management.

“Throughout 2020, the global Hasbro team did an excellent job executing in a challenging environment,” CFO Deborah Thomas said in a statement. “In the fourth quarter, we grew revenues and adjusted operating profit, overcoming tough comparisons within the partner brand category and last year’s theatrical releases.”

Sky and eOne Ink Movie Distribution Deal

Comcast-owned satellite TV operator Sky and Hasbro-owned Entertainment One (eOne) on Nov. 25 announced a long-term partnership that will afford Sky subscribers access to hundreds of hours of movie content. The deal covers both eOne’s existing 200-film library and new releases in development.

Starting next summer, Sky will have the pay-TV rights to eOne’s first-run feature films, including the animated kids’ title Two by Two: Overboard!, which debuted in October at the top of the U.K./Ireland box office.

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eOne’s library includes the “Twilight” and “Divergent” franchises, Young VictoriaDallas Buyers Club and Looper. A  number of new releases will also be available to Sky Cinema subs, including holiday rom-com Happiest Season, starring Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy, Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen, which bypassed a U.K. theatrical release due to the pandemic. Existing movie library titles are available now to Sky Cinema and Now TV Cinema Pass customers in the U.K. and Ireland.

“This year alone we’ve struck agreements with Disney, Discovery, Sony and DreamWorks Animation to increase the variety of content available on Sky Q,” Stephen van Rooyen, CEO of U.K. & Europe Sky, said in a statement.

Sky subs currently have access to content from Netflix, Disney+ (U.K. and Ireland), WarnerMedia (HBO), Showtime, Discovery, Fox and Sony, among others.

eOne is one of the top independent film distributors in the U.K., generating more than £1.13 billion ($1.51 billion) at the U.K. and Irish box office in the past 12 years. Top titles include Stan & OllieThe Girl on the TrainThe BFG12 Years a SlaveThe Twilight Saga, and more recently Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917.

“A partnership of this scale marks one of the biggest strategic deals we’ve done this year,” said Stuart Baxter, president of international distribution at eOne. “We’re confident they will be a brilliant marketing partner for our content, working with us through the entire lifecycle.”

 

Pandemic Undermines eOne, Hasbro Q3 Fiscal Results

With much of Hollywood and movie theaters shuttered over the summer, film and TV studio Entertainment One (eOne) and parent Hasbro Oct. 26 reported depressed revenue and operating income for the third quarter (ended Sept. 27).

eOne, which Hasbro acquired for $4 billion in August 2019, saw an operating loss of $25.9 million, compared with operating income of $15.8 million during the previous-year period. Revenue dropped 32% to $193.4 million, from $283.3 million a year earlier. For the nine months of the fiscal year, the operating loss was $64.9 million, compared with $91.3 in operating income in 2019.

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For Hasbro, whose entertainment brands include Transformers, G.I. Joe and Power Rangers, among others, saw entertainment, licensing and digital segment revenue decline, which included the Bumblebee film revenue (with Paramount Pictures), partially offset by growth in digital gaming.

Operating profit increased due to a favorable mix of growth in licensed digital gaming, lower advertising costs, and lower development expenses due to the closure of Backflip Studios in late 2019.

“Live-action entertainment production is returning, and we are set to improve deliveries in the fourth quarter with some moving into 2021,” Brian Goldner, CEO of Hasbro, said in a statement. “Demand for stories and content as well as viewership remain high. The teams have a robust development slate of over 150 active television and film projects, including more than 30 Hasbro properties.”

Hulu Acquires U.S. Rights to ‘Happiest Season’

Streaming service Hulu has acquired U.S. rights to Clea DuVall’s holiday romantic comedy Happiest Season, which will debut as a Hulu Original film on Nov. 25.

Sony Pictures and eOne co-financed the film and will retain distribution rights in Canada and the rest of the world. Overseas plans, including potential theatrical releases, will be finalized in the coming weeks.

The film stars Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Daniel Levy, Mary Holland, Burl Moseley, Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen. In the film, when Abby (Stewart) learns that Harper (Davis) has kept their relationship a secret from her family, she begins to question the girlfriend she thought she knew.

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“This holiday season — more than any other — we could all use a little happiness. It was essential to Sony Pictures and to the filmmakers that Clea’s marvelous and fresh holiday-themed romantic comedy come out when the lights are on the trees,” Nicole Brown, president of TriStar Pictures, said in a statement. “We are excited that Hulu is geared up to make this happen in the U.S. and grateful that they love the movie as much as we do.”

“With its all-star cast and modern storytelling, Happiest Season brings yet another breakthrough film to Hulu that we know our viewers will love,” Brian Kendig, Hulu director of content acquisition, said in a statement. “We are honored to be the streaming home of this fresh and funny romantic comedy that explores love, family and acceptance this holiday season.”

“I am beyond grateful to Hulu for providing an incredible home for Happiest Season, and I’ll forever cherish my journey with Sony Pictures who felt just as strongly as I did about the value of bringing the first major LGBTQ+ holiday rom-com to audiences,” writer-director DuVall said in a statement. “I’m hopeful that this universal story, told through a unique lens, will join the long list of holiday classics that continue to bring all of us so much joy and happiness.”

eOne Acquisition, COVID-19 Weigh Heavily on Hasbro Earnings

Game manufacturer Hasbro’s aggressive move into content production and distribution continues to sting the fiscal bottom line. The company July 27 reported a second-quarter (ended June 30) loss of $33.9 million on revenue of $863 million, which was down 29% from revenue of $1.2 billion in the previous-year period.

Much of the loss came from the $3.8 billion acquisition of Entertainment One in 2019, including $8.5 million after tax of acquisition-related expenses, $10.1 million after-tax of severance charges associated with cost-savings initiatives within the Canadian company’s commercial and TV and film businesses, and $17.9 million after-tax of purchased intangible amortization associated with the deal. eOne revenue in the quarter fell 30% to $160.9 million from $231.1 million.

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Hasbro, which has licensed IP to Paramount Pictures for movie franchises “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe,” among others, said revenue from “TV, film and entertainment” dropped 32% to $132.2 million from $195.4 million — much of it due to production and distribution shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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“The second quarter was much as we expected: strong point of sale for Hasbro brands countered by a very challenging revenue period due to global closures in our supply chain, across retailers as well as in entertainment production,” CEO Brian Goldner said in a statement.

With the economy slowly emerging from the shutdowns, Goldner is looking forward to the winter holiday retail season. Hasbro’s biggest retail clients include Walmart, Target and Amazon.

“We believe the outlook improves from here,” Goldner said. “Consumers — children, families, fans and audiences — are relying on Hasbro brands and stories to connect and entertain themselves throughout this period.”

CFO Deborah Thomas said the gamer has a strong financial position, with more than $1 billion in cash on the balance sheet and a $1.5 billion revolving credit facility.

“We continue to see improvement as stores reopen, and we are working closely with our customers to successfully navigate this period,” Thomas said. “Working capital needs increase in the second half of the year, with early fourth quarter the peak period and we are positioned to support our plans for a good holiday season.”

Entertainment One Inks Deal With Former Marvel Exec Jeremy Latcham

Entertainment One has entered into a first-look agreement with producer and former Marvel Studios executive Jeremy Latcham.

Hasbro recently acquired eOne.

The first project announced under the deal is a film for “Dungeons & Dragons,” which is managed by Wizards of the Coast, a Hasbro subsidiary that also manages “Magic: The Gathering.” Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are attached to write and direct the film, which is co-produced by eOne, Hasbro’s global entertainment studio, and Paramount. This film marks the first project for eOne with Paramount since eOne’s acquisition by Hasbro.

“Jeremy is a massively talented producer with a track record of creating true-to-brand films with size and scope that resonate with audiences and excel on a global scale,” Nick Meyer, eOne president of film, said in a statement. “In our exciting new era with Hasbro, we’re thrilled to begin this new partnership and look forward to sharing the amazing projects that are to come.”

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“Nick and the entire eOne team have welcomed me into the fold with open arms,” Latcham said in a statement. “Hasbro’s incredibly rich library of beloved brands in addition to the opportunity to develop original material makes for a very exciting next step for me as a creative producer. My passion for telling stories steeped in heart, humor and spectacle aligns with D&D’s decades of immersive, adventure-driven storytelling, and I am beyond excited to help John and Jonathan, eOne, Paramount, and Wizards of the Coast bring this rich world to filmgoing audiences.”

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Latcham most recently produced 2018’s Bad Times at the El Royale. Previously, Latcham spent 13 years at Marvel Studios, where he executive produced Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers. Latcham was the associate producer on Iron Man and co-producer on Iron Man 2.

Hasbro’s additional film properties include the “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” film franchises.

Hasbro Takes Q1 Fiscal Hit From eOne Acquisition — Not COVID-19

Hasbro April 29 reported a first-quarter (ended March 31) net loss of $69.6 million, compared with a net income of $76.4 million in the previous-year period. The toymaker, game manufacturer and movie producer attributed the loss to acquisition and costs associated with the $4 billion acquisition of content producer/distributor Entertainment One (eOne) in 2019.

Contributing to the loss was $127.5 million after-tax of acquisition-related expenses and $19.9 million after-tax of purchased intangible amortization associated with the acquisition. Excluding these items, adjusted net income would have been $77.7 million. Total revenue for the quarter was $1.11 billion compared to $1.2 billion pro forma revenues in 2019. Foreign exchange had an $11.7 million negative impact on first quarter 2020 revenue.

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Entertainment revenue declined in the quarter due to planned later delivery timing for eOne content. Beginning late in Q1, production and delivery of television and film projects for Hasbro’s eOne TV and movie business shut down, negatively impacting revenue.

The eOne team continues to develop new projects and work on animation production which can be done remotely,” CEO Brian Goldner said in a statement. “The team now expects to deliver finished episodes and film projects later in the year than planned.”

Indeed, several film release dates have moved to later in 2020, into 2021 and in some instances are going straight to video-on-demand/EST and packaged media, windows impacting the timing and level of anticipated revenue.

“As more people are home, content viewership is high which bodes well for long-term brand engagement,” Goldner said.

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The executive said Hasbro has been proactive during the coronavirus pushing its portfolio of “face-to-face” games to families spending more time at home.

“Point of sale at retail was strong during the first quarter and continues to be up in April,” Goldner said. “We’ve undertaken extensive scenario planning across the business and geographies as we plan for a re-opening of the economies globally.”

CFO Deborah Thomas said closure of the eOne acquisition included drawing down on a $1 billion term loan. The cash position increased to $1.2 billion at the end of the quarter, and is further supported by access to a $1.5 billion revolving credit facility, according to Thomas.

“Toward the end of the quarter, physical store closures and country-wide restrictions became more prevalent and entertainment productions shut down,” Thomas said.

The CFO expects the second quarter to be more challenging with revenue and earnings down versus pro forma 2019. “We are taking prudent steps to lower expenses and preserve capital while positioning to meet the seasonal peak demand periods of the business in the second half of the year, including the holiday season.”

With third-party factories in China representing about 55% of Hasbro’s manufacturing production — and operating at reduced capacity. Thomas expects Chinese factories that are making product across the business, including games, would typically build to peak levels during the summer months—- making up production lost in the first quarter into the second quarter.

“These beliefs assume all production continues to operate in all material respects without further COVID-19 shutdowns,” Thomas said. “While the ultimate impact will vary depending on how long it takes to reopen markets around the world, we are currently seeing healthy demand for our products and content.”

Hasbro said manufacturing and warehouse partners outside of China operated at close to normal levels during much of the first quarter. Beginning in mid-March and through today, these locations are operating at varying levels of productivity depending on local government and safety considerations, with some markets operating at lower than normal production levels and other facilities have been closed for a period of time.

Currently closed facilities include manufacturing in Massachusetts, Texas and Ireland, primarily for games, as well as manufacturing locations in India.