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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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 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.

Follow us HERE on Twitter

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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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.

Follow us on Instagram

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

Sony Pictures Expands Imax Distribution in the Home With Hundreds of New Movies

Sony Pictures Entertainment May 4 announced an expansion of its theatrical distribution with Imax Corp., encompassing hundreds of new movies in the 3D format over the next two years, including all upcoming SPE theatrical releases. The “Imax Enhanced” releases include hundreds of catalog titles, as well as theatrical releases for home entertainment available across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific regions.

Imax markets branded in-home “Imax private theatre” packages that include the required technology, screen and audio features for the well-heeled costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. The set-up can also screen Blu-ray releases, including 4K UHD.

The distribution format features digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS premium audio delivered through high-end consumer electronics and streaming platforms.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Imax Enhanced content library includes Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jumanji: The Next Level, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Venom, Bad Boys for Life, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Only the Brave, Men In Black: International, Zombieland: Double Tap, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Little Women (2019), and Charlie’s Angels (2019).

“The success that SPE has enjoyed in collaborating with Imax and DTS has inspired the decision to significantly increase our volume of content,” Pete Wood, SVP of new digital distribution at Sony Pictures, said in a statement. “SPE’s investment in the Imax Enhanced program ensures that we will continue to deliver even more of our films to audiences who now expect to experience movies at the highest technical quality — even in their own homes.”

Imax CFO Patrick McClymont said working with Sony Pictures and DTS is helping deliver ever-expanding roster of “movie favorites” across multiple genres.

Follow us on Instagram

“We look forward to continuing to drive momentum on all fronts by working tirelessly with our leading consumer electronics and streaming partners on delivering breakthrough technology and content experiences for consumers around the world,” McClymont said.

Bill Neighbors, GM of Imax parent Xperi, said that with consumers looking for new ways to access movie content, Sony Pictures’ content library is a “seamless fit” with the Imax brand.

“[The deal is] preserving the films’ best-in-class sight, sound and scale for an at-home entertainment experience that truly stands out,” Neighbors said.

Now available on four streaming platforms in 14 countries and across 17 consumer electronics manufacturers, Imax Enhanced uses proprietary digital remastering technology to deliver ultra-vivid 4K HDR picture with more vibrant colors. Select content features Imax’s expanded aspect ratio — enabling viewers the full scope and scale of the picture. Imax and DTS have also partnered with Hollywood sound mixers to use a special variant of the DTS:X codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver a signature sound experience with more immersive, powerful audio.

To ensure optimized playback of fully immersive Imax Enhanced content, the two companies are also designing “Imax Mode,” calibrated to deliver the best viewing and listening experience in the home.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Launches YouTube Channel Aimed at Kids

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) April 7 announced launch of a new YouTube Channel, Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone, with a variety of interactive fun, physical movement, learning, and hands-on activities.

Sony Pictures says its Kids Zone is curated with a wide range of activities that will support families coping with school closures, new work-from-home routines and social distancing.

“A significant portion of Sony Pictures’ workforce is made up of working parents,” said Lexine Wong, senior EVP of worldwide marketing. “The idea of Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone was born from parents on our own team adjusting to working from home and managing home schooling.

“We are proud to offer this resource to help families navigate these new and challenging circumstances, while hopefully having a little fun in the process.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone will feature content from Sony Pictures Animation as well as SPE’s catalog of live-action programming.  Viewers can enjoy content from movies such as Peter Rabbit,  “The Angry Birds Movie” series, the “Hotel Transylvania” franchise, Center Stage: On Pointe, the “Swan Princess” series and more.

Follow us on Twitter

Launch content includes:

  • Peter Rabbit “Make Your Own McGregor Garden,” with tips for kids on how to grow their own vegetables and other plants as well as related crafts.
  • The Angry Birds 2 “Bird Watching,” taking kids on a virtual trip to the Los Angeles Zoo for an up-close look at eagles, blue birds, toucans and other birds.
  • Hotel Transylvania 3 “It’s Party Time,” by Joe Jonas Lyric Video.
  • Center Stage: On Pointe “Dance Tutorial with Chloe,” with dancer and actress Chloe Lukasiak and choreographer Monica Proenca teaching fans “Gwen’s” full audition piece from the film.
  • The Star “There’s No Me Without You” sing-along with Bo and friends.
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village, a “Learn to Draw with Brainy Smurf” tutorial.
  • Zathura “Motion Storybook,” read by author Chris Van Allsburg.

 

Crackle Gets Exclusive Access to ‘Everyday Edisons’

Crackle, the former Sony ad-supported VOD service now owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSSE), has inked a distribution deal with Edison Nation for the fifth season of the Emmy Award–winning series “Everyday Edisons,” which will debut exclusively on Crackle in March.

The original four season of the series ran on PBS beginning in 2006. Featuring real inventors, the reboot includes eight new episodes, four judges and 24 new inventors. The show connects inventors with a team of mentors who provide advice in advance of their pitch before a panel of judges.

Follow us on Instagram

Bringing the series back are Chris Ferguson, CEO of Edison Nation, Michael Cable, original series producer and winner of 23 Emmy Awards — including one for Outstanding Educational / Informational Program for “Everyday Edisons” — and Louis Foreman, CEO of Eventys Partners and original series co- creator.

“With its tremendous audience reach and reputation for original inspirational reality programming such as “Going from Broke” and “On Point,” Crackle is the perfect home for Everyday Edisons,” Ferguson said in a statement.

On the show, inventors gain insight on how extraordinary ideas are taken from, for example, a sketch on a napkin to a store shelf. Each episode features three inventors, each of whom has been coached by mentors, including 2019 PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte.

The mentors offer expert advice and help the inventors refine their pitch before presenting their unique idea to a panel of respected industry professionals. The panel includes Foreman, Ferguson, and Kelly Bagla, CEO of Go Legal Yourself, as lead judges.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

A fourth guest judge will appear in each of the episodes, including the following:

Lily Winnail — Winnail is a mompreneur, CEO and found of Padalily
Brian Fried — A successful inventor himself, Fried mentors and represents “Individual Inventors” to “Celebrities” at all stages of the invention process and is known as the Inventor Coach.
Tiffany Norwood — Norwood is a serial entrepreneur, global speaker and inventor who raised $670 million to fund WorldSpace, the first ever global digital satellite radio start-up.
Fred Cary — Cary is a senior executive, strategic consultant, attorney and investment banker. He is also the co-founder of IdeaPros.
Howie Busch — Serial Inventor and Founder of DudeRobe (as seen on Shark Tank).

One winner will be announced at the end of each episode. This inventor will receive a monetary prize of $5,000 plus a chance to work with Edison Nation to bring their product to market.

“When ‘Everyday Edisons’ first premiered in 2006, there was no other program like it,” said Michael Cable, show producer. “It is the original ‘pitch’ program and has launched many successful inventions.”

The new season will showcase various products ranging from new oral care products for individuals with disabilities to innovative new shovels, blow dryer accessories, 3-dimensional playing cards, and customizable blankets, among others.

Season 4 of “Everyday Edisons” is available for free on Crackle starting today.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Takes Full Ownership of Game Show Network

Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired AT&T’s minority stake in Game Show Network for $500 million, the two companies announced.

SPE now owns 100% of the multimedia entertainment company offering original and classic game programming to millions of subscribers through the U.S.-based cable network. It also offers online and mobile games to millions of users through GSN Games. Following the transaction, the Game Show Network channel will continue to be carried on DirecTV.

Prior to the transaction, SPE owned a 58% stake in Game Show Network, and AT&T owned the remaining 42%.

Game Show Network will continue to be managed by Sony Pictures Television with Mark Feldman continuing as president and CEO of the multimedia outlet.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We’re excited to bring Game Show Network fully into the Sony Pictures Entertainment portfolio,” said Mike Hopkins, chairman, Sony Pictures Television, in a statement. “The acquisition allows us to work more closely with the company’s talented team to deliver the best iconic game shows, develop and syndicate new game show IP for audiences across the nation, as well as to advance the fast-growing GSN Games business, all of which directly aligns with our strategy of developing targeted direct-to-consumer offerings.”

Game Show Network television programming includes originals such as “America Says,” “The Chase,” “Common Knowledge” and “Catch 21,” syndicated shows including “Wheel of Fortune” and “Family Feud,” and classics including “The $25,000 Pyramid” and “Card Sharks.” GSN Games’ collection of mobile games includes GSN Casino, Bingo Bash, Wheel of Fortune Slots, Solitaire TriPeaks and WorldWinner.

DEG’s New ‘4 Cups of Coffee’ Mentoring Program

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group on June 5 kicked off a new mentoring program, “4 Cups of Coffee,” at the “Cocktails & Coffee” event at Sony  Studios in the Norman Lear Commissary. Under the program, the DEG’s Canon Club will match women in search of mentors with one of its advisors or other women executives for 30-minute career conversations, either in person or over the phone, up to four times per year. The Canon Club was established by DEG to provide women at all levels and in all sectors of digital media the opportunity to share knowledge and build their business networks. Last month, the DEG announced the appointment of 10 advisory board members to provide input on Canon Club event programming, rotate as host at speaker-driven salons and social/networking events, serve as founding mentors in the “4 Cups of Coffee” program, and judge the annual Hedy Lamarr Awards for Women in Entertainment and Technology, among other responsibilities. The advisory board is led by chair Robin Tarufelli of Deloitte, and vice chair Meri Hassouni of Giant Interactive. Other members are Loren Nielsen, DTS; Sofia Chang, HBO; Dametra Johnson-Marletti, Microsoft; Karin Gilford, Movies Anywhere; Andrea Downing, PBS Distribution; Cheryl Goodman, Sony Electronics; Nadia Haney, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment; and Darcy Antonellis, Vubiquity. Other Canon Club mentors include Beth Kearns, 20th Century Fox; Heathyr Jozel-Garcia, ABC Studios; Samara Winterfeld, DTS; Ken Williams, ETC@USC; Kejo Swingler, HBO; and Rachel Crang, Paramount Pictures.

Sony Pictures Ups Q3 Theatrical Revenue 76%

Sony Pictures Entertainment Feb. 1 reported third-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) theatrical revenue of $532 million, up 76% from revenue of $302 million in the previous-year period.

Total revenue topped $2.45 billion, up 6.5% from $2.3 billion last year. Operating income increased nearly 10% to $102 million from $93 million.

Principle box office drivers included sci-fi thriller Venom, starring Tom Hardy, with $855 million in global revenue, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with $225 million.

In the previous-year period, top box office titles included Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($329 million) and Blade Runner: 2049 ($163 million).

Subscribe HERE to our FREE daily newsletter!

On the retail side, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment generated revenue of $320 million, down less than 4% from revenue of $331 million in the previous-year period. Through nine months of the fiscal year, home entertainment revenue was up 3% at $713 million from $692 million during the previous-year period.

Home entertainment releases in the quarter included Venom, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, The Equalizer 2, Alpha and Hotel Transylvania 3 : Summer Vacation.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Hotel Transylvania 3, Blade Runner 2049 and Spider-Man: Homecoming were the top-selling SPHE titles released on DVD/Blu-ray Disc in 2018 – with combined revenue of $140.6 million, according to The-Numbers.com. .

 

Movies Anywhere Celebrates First Birthday With 6 Million Users and 150 Million Movies Collected

Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based digital movie library service backed by most of the major studios, is celebrating its first birthday with 6 million registered users, 150 million movies collected and more than 1 billion minutes viewed.

To mark its first year, for a limited period, fans who sync for the first time with one digital retailer will receive a copy of Happy Feet. Those who sync for the first time with two digital retailers also receive The Martian and The Fate of the Furious.

“This has been a very exciting first year of growth and immersive engagement for Movies Anywhere,” said Karin Gilford, GM, Movies Anywhere. “Our users are among the most passionate and engaged movie fans, so it’s been incredibly rewarding to see them embrace and value our product in such a positive way.  We look forward to further evolving and enhancing the Movies Anywhere experience in the upcoming year.”

The service, which allows consumers to access their digital movie purchases in one place with one password, is backed by five Hollywood studios and six digital retailers. Studios include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including Focus Features, DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm) and Warner Bros. Participating digital retailers are iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and FandangoNow.

Other first-year milestones for the service include:

  • Fans have streamed more than 35 million movies on more than 100 different devices;
  • 95 percent of users reported high levels of satisfaction with the app, according to an August 2018 Futuresource report; and
  • The service was nominated for “Fan Favorite App” in the Google Play Best of 2018 Awards.

 

The digital movie sales and rights-locker storage service launched last October with support from five of the six major studios, four of the biggest online retailers, and an opening library of more than 7,300 movies. Over the past year the service has grown to more than 7,500 movies and has added FandangoNow and Microsoft Movies & TV to its digital retailer lineup. Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate are not part of the service, which also does not feature television programming.

Digital purchases of movies, TV shows and other filmed content, known in the industry as “electronic sellthrough,” or EST, rose 18% in the third quarter compared with the same quarter in the year prior, a significant uptick from the single-digit gains posted in prior years, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Industry observers attribute at least some of the gain to the rising popularity of Movies Anywhere platform.

 

Sony Pictures Ups Q1 Home Entertainment Revenue 17%

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment July 31 reported first-quarter (ended June 30) revenue of $234 million, up 17.5% from revenue of $199 million during the previous-year period.

The studio attributed the increase to sales of new releases and catalog titles, including Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The two titles have generated nearly $60 million in combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc revenue this year, with Jumanji the fourth best-selling release of the year thus far, according to The-Numbers.com.

SPHE’s top-selling new releases in the quarter based on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital revenue (electronic sellthrough and VOD distributed on cable, broadcast, satellite and digital platforms, as well as hotel pay-per-view), included: Insidious: The Last Key, Golden Exits, All the Money in the World, Proud Mary, Outlander: Season 3, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Peter Rabbit, A Fantastic Woman, Loveless and Paul, Apostle of Christ.

Indeed, Peter Rabbit has generated revenue $11.1 million on sales of 607,000 combined DVD/Blu-ray discs. Outlander: Season 3 has generated revenue of $6.1 million on sales of 189,000 discs, while Insidious: The Last Key has generated $3.3 million on 174,000 discs.

Home entertainment releases in the current quarter (ending Sept. 30) include Finding Your Feet, The Leisure Seeker, Final Portrait, The Good Doctor: Season 1, The Blacklist: Season 5 and Superfly.

Television production revenue increased slightly to $267 million from $265 million last year. Theatrical revenue dropped nearly 27% to $95 million from $129 million last year.

Overall, Sony Pictures Entertainment narrowed its operating loss to $69.6 million on revenue of $1.6 billion. That compared to an operating loss of $85.4 million on revenue of $1.85 billion last year.