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.

 

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Sees Revenue Gain for Nine Months of Fiscal Year

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Feb. 3 reported that sales of packaged and digital media totaled $639 million through nine months of the fiscal year (ending March 31), up almost 4% from revenue of $615 million during the previous-year period.

The top-selling DVD/Blu-ray Disc movie in 2020 was Jumanji: The Next Level with $47.7 million in sales of 2.37 million combined units, followed by Bad Boys for Life with $27.8 million from 1.36 million units.

With scant new releases in physical and digital media due to the ongoing pandemic, SPHE reported third-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2020) revenue of $149 million, down almost 42% from revenue of $255 million during the previous-year period.

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With just four theatrical releases in the quarter, theatrical revenue came in at $14 million, down 96% from revenue of $354 million during the previous-year period. The top-producing movie was Screen Gems’ Monster Hunter, with $13 million in global ticket sales. Sony Pictures has 10 theatrical releases slated to bow in 2021, led by Fatherhood, starring Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Anthony Carrigan and Paul Reiser, on April 16.

Separately, Sony Pictures Television generated three series for subscription streaming services in the quarter, including season two of “The Boys” for Amazon Prime Video; season four of “The Crown” for Netflix, and season one of “De Brutas Nada” for Lionsgate’s Pantaya.

From Jan. 1, Sony has 14 shows in production streaming on third-party SVOD platforms, including season one of “The Party” and seasons two and three of “For All Mankind” on Apple TV+; initial seasons of “A League of Their Own,” “Wheel of Time,” “Truth Seekers,” and seasons 1 and two of “Them: Covenant” for Amazon Prime Video.

Sony also has five shows in production for Netflix, including season four of “Atypical,” season one of “Behind Her Eyes,” seasons three and four of “Cobra Kai,” season three of “Sex Education,” and seasons five and six of “The Crown.”

Sony also produced season one of “Coyote” for CBS All Access; seasons five and six of “The Boondocks” for HBO Max, and season two of “Woke” for Hulu.

CEO: Sony Pictures Sitting on Theatrical Sidelines Until 2021

For Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Jan. 17 theatrical release of the sequel Bad Boys For Life will be as good as it gets at the 2020 box office. The Will Smith-Martin Lawrence starrer generated more than $424 million at the pre-COVID-19 global box office — and was released, digitally, to home audiences on March 31.

Speaking Sept. 9 on the Bank of America Securities Virtual Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, studio chairman/CEO Tony Vinciquerra said releasing a big-budget movie as theaters slowly re-open from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown is fiscally irresponsible.

“What we won’t do is make the mistake of putting a very, very expensive $200 million movie out in the market unless we’re sure that theaters are open and operating at significant capacity,” Vinciquerra said.

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Sony’s major theatrical slate, which includes Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Fatherhood, Morbius, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Escape Room 2 and Connected have all been pushed back to 2021.

Warner Bros. has been the first major studio to test the post-COVID-19 waters at the box office, releasing Christopher Nolan’s espionage thriller Tenet on limited domestic screens last weekend following an international launch. The movie generated $20.3 million in ticket sales without theaters in California and New York, bringing the movie’s global tally to nearly $150 million.

Vinciquerra said Sony this weekend would release in theaters smaller-budget film Broken Hearts Gallery, a romantic comedy from first-time director Natalie Krinsky and executive producer Selena Gomez. The studio has generated strong home entertainment revenue from Bad Boys For Life and Jumanji: The Next Level.

“You’ll see a lot of strange things happen over the next six months in how films are released, how they’re scheduled, how they’re marketed, but once we get back to normal, we will have learned a lot I think and found ways to do things that are somewhat different and hopefully better,” Vinciquerra said.

Sony Pictures Ups Q1 Home Entertainment Revenue 60%; Corporate CFO Hints at Future PVOD Releases

To observers of weekly home video charts during the pandemic, a common denominator is Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Parent Sony Corp. Aug. 4 revealed SPHE’s chart prowess is real to the bottom line as well.

The home entertainment studio generated $319 million in first-quarter (ended June 30) revenue, which was up 59.5% from revenue of $200 million during the previous-year period.

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Top-selling/renting titles in the quarter included Bad Boys For Life and Jumanji: The Next Level.

While Sony Pictures generated just $6 million at the box office due to theater and production shutdowns caused by COVID-19, the studio reported operating income of $230 million, which was up 760% from $3 million in the previous-year period. Revenue topped $1.6 billion, on par with last year’s fiscal period, but lower marketing costs from the absence of theatrical releases contributed to the higher profit margin.

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Another overachieving business segment (besides home entertainment) was television production, which generated revenue of $597 million, up 41% from revenue of $422 million a year ago. The studio had 31 series in broadcast, syndication and streaming in the quarter, including “Better Call Saul,” “Shark Tank” and “Indebted,” among others.

On the fiscal call from Tokyo, Sony Corp. CFO Hiroki Totoki said that while Sony Pictures remains committed to the box office, changes in theatrical distribution due to the pandemic will impact studio financial results for the next three years. As a result, Sony Pictures is looking at alternatives, including premium VOD.

“Digital sales of products we have released theatrically in the past are strong,” Totoki said. “For Sony, the importance of theatrical releases is not expected to change going forward. But in order to maximize the long-term value of our product, we will select the optimal distribution channel for our product based on the nature, scale and timing of the product.”

In other words, should theatrical re-openings produce lackluster consumer response, Sony would opt for direct-to-consumer movie distribution. Totoki contends Sony can minimize theatrical uncertainty through enhanced TV show production.

“If we can restart production, we think we can recover our position in the television production area relatively quickly because demand for content from digital distribution services is extremely high, and we think we can leverage our advantage as a major independent studio,” he said.

‘Scoob!’ Surges in Home-Viewing Demand After Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release

The animated Scoob! debuted at No. 2  on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended July 25, with demand for the film skyrocketing in the wake of its release on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD and DVD.

The Warner Bros. film was the first full-length animated Scooby-Doo movie intended for theatrical release, but with the mid-March closure of theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic the film instead debuted digitally, on premium VOD and EST, on May 15.

Another rerouted animated movie, Trolls World Tour, from DreamWorks Animation, remained at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week on the “Watched at Home” chart, which  tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Scoob! was available for streaming on the new HBO Max SVOD service prior to its release on physical media.

Paramount’s three seasons of “Yellowstone” again rounded out the top five.

With no new theatrical product entering the home entertainment pipeline, home viewing demand remains high for recent high-profile feature films such as Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man and Sony Pictures Jumanji: The Next Level, which finished at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, respectively.

Another PVOD release, Universal Pictures’ The High Note, starring Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross, debuted at No. 10 after its release through regular digital channels. The film becomes available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Aug. 11.

Also new to the chart: Lionsgate’s Capone, a multi-platform release about the notorious gangster Al Capone (No. 18), and the British science-fiction film Archive, released digitally to home audiences by Vertical Entertainment (No. 20).

  1. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  8. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  10. The High Note (Universal)
  11. Force of Nature (Lionsgate)
  12. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  13. Bloodshot (Sony)
  14. Batman Beyond: Seasons 1-3 (Warner)
  15. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  16. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  17. The Hunt (Universal)
  18. Capone (Lionsgate)
  19. Fantasy Island (Sony Pictures)
  20. Archive (Vertical)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended July 25

‘The Invisible Man’ Tops ‘Watched at Home’ Chart as ‘Yellowstone’ S3 Linear Premiere Boosts Sales of Earlier Seasons

Continued interest in Universal Pictures’ acclaimed The Invisible Man remake sent the thriller to the top of the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended June 20, ending a four-week run at No. 1 by Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

The Invisible Man debuted at No. 2 three weeks earlier after its May 26 release on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD and DVD. The film became available through digital retailers on May 12, after appearing as a premium video-on-demand (PVOD) rental at $19.99 on March 16, after movie theaters were shuttered.

Sonic finished the week at No. 2.

Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level, available for home viewing since March, jumped up three spots to No. 3 on the weekly chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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The home entertainment pipeline is now feeling the impact of COVID-19 production halts and movie theater closures, three months after the country was effectively shuttered. Traditional 90-day windows gave home entertainment a grace period, but studio marketers are now turning to catalog, TV product and other programming to fill the void.

To that end, the linear premiere of the third season of “Yellowstone” stoked consumer interest in the two previous seasons, both available on disc and digitally from Paramount Home Entertainment. Yellowstone: Season 1, initially released on disc in December 2018, shot up the “Watched at Home” chart to No. 4 from No. 17 the prior week, while Yellowstone: Season 2, released on DVD in November 2019, debuted at No. 10.

According to Deadline, the Season 3 debut of “Yellowstone” on June 21 across four networks — three Paramount Network telecasts and three simulcasts on CMT, TV Land and Pop — attracted 6.6 million total viewers, making it the top cable premiere so far this year.

Featuring a cast headed by Kevin Costner, “Yellowstone” is centered on the conflicts between a cattle ranch, an Indian reservation and land developers, all of whom share common borders.

Rounding out the top five on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended June 20 was Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, down from No. 4 the prior week.

  1. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog (Parmount)
  3. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  5. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  6. The Hunt (Universal)
  7. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  8. 1917 (Universal)
  9. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  10. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  11. The Call of the Wild (Disney, 2020)
  12. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  13. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  14. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  15. Fantasy Island (Sony)
  16. Onward (Disney)
  17. Dolittle (Universal)
  18. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  19. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
  20. I Still Believe (Lionsgate)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended June 20

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Most-Watched Movie in Homes for Third Straight Week

Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog remained on top of the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended June 6, its third consecutive week at No. 1.

With the COVID-19 production halts and movie theater closures beginning to impact the home entertainment pipeline, a lack of high-profile new releases is finding older releases dominating the weekly chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Sonic the Hedgehog, based on a popular video game franchises, first hit No. 1 on the chart three weeks ago after it was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. Sonic earned $146 million at the domestic box office before theaters shut down in mid-March due to governmental shutdown orders intended to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 cases. Earlier this week, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) said it expects upwards of 90% of movie screens in the world to re-open by July 17.

Sonic was released digitally on March 31 for digital purchase only.

Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man remake also remained at No. 2 on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended June 6, a position it vaulted into the prior week after its May 26 release on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

The Invisible Man became available through digital retailers on May 12, after appearing as a premium video-on-demand (PVOD) rental at $19.99 on March 16, after movie theaters were shuttered.

The remainder of the “Watched at Home” chart also is largely unchanged from the prior week.

Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn and two Sony Pictures releases, Bad Boys for Life and Jumanji: The Next Level, repeated at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

Walt Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker returned to the chart, at No. 18, after a week-long absence.

New to the chart, at No. 15, is RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: Season 5, its popularity buoyed after it debuted on MTV June 5.

Season four of the Adult Swim TV series “Rick and Morty” shot up the chart to No. 10 from No. 16 the prior week. The first appeared on the “Watched at Home” chart the week ended May 9, debuting at No. 17.

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  2. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  3. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  4. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  5. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  6. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  7. Fantasy Island (Sony)
  8. The Call of the Wild (Disney, 2020)
  9. Onward (Disney)
  10. Rick and Morty: Season 4 (Warner)
  11. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  12. 1917 (Universal)
  13. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  14. Dolittle (Universal)
  15. RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: Season 5 (MTV)
  16. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
  17. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (Warner)
  18. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  19. Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  20. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended June 6

‘The Invisible Man’ Soars to No. 2 on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart After Blu-ray, DVD Release

Universal Pictures’ acclaimed reimagining of The Invisible Man soared up the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended May 30 after the thriller was released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

The film, whose theatrical run was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, shot to No. 2 from No. 14 the prior week on the chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

The Invisible Man became available through digital retailers on May 12, after appearing as a premium video-on-demand (PVOD) rental at $19.99 on March 16, after movie theaters were shuttered.

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The subsequent disc and digital releases include more than 20 minutes of bonus content — including a close-up look at lead actress Elisabeth Moss, feature commentary with writer-director Leigh Whannell, and deleted scenes — that were not included on the PVOD release.

Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog remained at No. 1 on the “Watched at Home” chart. The film, based on a popular video game franchise, captured the top spot the previous week after its release on disc.

Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn slipped to No. 3 from No. 2.

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Rounding out the top five on the “Watched at Home Chart” for the week ended May 30 are Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life, repeating at No. 4, and Jumanji: The Next Level, which moved back up the chart to No. 5 from No. 9 the prior week.

Walt Disney’s Onward, catapulted to No. 3 the previous week in the wake of its disc release, fell to No. 7. The studio’s latest Pixar animated feature film has been available since April 3 on the Disney+ subscription streaming service.

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  2. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  3. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  4. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  5. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  6. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  7. Onward (Disney)
  8. Fantasy Island (Sony)
  9. The Call of the Wild (Disney, 2020)
  10. 1917 (Universal)
  11. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  12. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (Warner)
  13. Dolittle (Universal)
  14. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  15. The Way Back (Warner, 2020)
  16. Rick and Morty: Season 4 (Warner)
  17. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
  18. I Still Believe (Lionsgate)
  19. Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  20. Emma (Universal)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended May 30.

Sony Inches Up Q4 Home Entertainment Revenue

Sony Pictures Entertainment May 13 announced that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment generated revenue of $303 million in the fourth quarter (ended March 31), which was up 1% from revenue of $300 million in the previous-year period. For the fiscal year, sales of DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital titles declined almost 10% to $918 million, from $1.01 billion in the previous-year period.

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Overall, Sony Pictures revenue topped $4.37 billion, up 11.7% from $3.91 billion in the previous fiscal year. Theatrical sales increased 142% to $471 million from $194 million. For the year, box office revenue topped $1.7 billion from $1.19 billion.

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Sony’s top-grossing releases in the fiscal year included Spider-Man: Far From Home with $1.13 billion in global ticket sales, including $391 million in the United States. Runner-up was Jumanji: The Next Level with $797 million in worldwide box office, including $317 million domestic.

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Finally, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood filled out the podium with $372 million in worldwide ticket sales, including $142 million domestically.

Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release Sends ‘Bad Boys for Life’ to Top of ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

The Blu-ray Disc and DVD release of Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life propelled the  action comedy into the top spot on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended April 25.

The third “Bad Boys” film was released digitally on March 31 after earning more than $200 million in North American theaters, making it the top box office earner in the franchise, which stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in Disney’s “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, slipped to No. 2 after three weeks at No. 1 on the weekly chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Like Bad Boys, The Rise of Skywalker captured the top spot on the chart — which measures disc sales, digital purchase (electronic sellthrough, or EST) and digital rental — after it became available on disc.

Another Universal Pictures film, The Gentleman, rose to No. 3 from No. 7 the prior week, also in the wake of its release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. The action comedy follows an American expat, played by Matthew McConaughey, as a successful marijuana dealer in London who is attempting to cash out. The film’s ensemble cast includes Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Eddie Marsan and Jeremy Strong.

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Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog slipped to No. 4 from No. 3, while  Sony Pictures’  Jumanji: The Next Level remained at No. 5 for the third week.

Independent supplier Well Go USA scored its first entry on the “Watched at Home” chart with IP Man 4: The Finale, which debuted at No. 16.

  1. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  3. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  5. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  6. Dolittle (Universal)
  7. The Call of the Wild (Disney, 2020)
  8. Underwater (Fox)
  9. 1917 (Universal)
  10. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  11. Little Women (Sony, 2019)
  12. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  13. The Way Back (Warner)
  14. Like a Boss (Paramount)
  15. Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  16. IP Man 4: The Finale (Well Go)
  17. Just Mercy (Warner)
  18. Fantasy Island (Sony, 2020)
  19. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  20. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended April 25