Sony Pictures Inks Nordics DVD/Blu-ray Disc Distribution Deal With SF Studios

SF Studios, a distribution and production company in the Nordics, Nov. 4 announced the signing of a new home entertainment distribution deal for DVD and Blu-ray Disc with Sony Pictures Entertainment, effective Jan. 11, 2021. The new deal covers feature films and TV series in the Nordic and the Baltic markets.

The agreement covers upcoming Sony Pictures titles such as Ghostbusters: AfterlifePeter Rabbit 2Uncharted, the Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters movies Morbius and Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage, and a third MCU “Spider-Man” film with Tom Holland as the superhero. Other Sony catalog titles include: Once Upon a Time in HollywoodBlade RunnerAngry BirdsMoneyballMen in Black, “Outlander” and “The Crown,” among many other new and library titles and TV series.

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“We are incredibly happy and proud to have entered this agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment,” Martin Brandtler, Nordic head of home entertainment distribution at SF Studios, said in a statement. “We are very excited to be working with the Sony team and thrilled to be able to share Sony’s exciting content with consumers in the Nordics and the Baltics.”

This summer, SF Studios announced a new deal with Warner Bros. covering distribution of physical home entertainment products. The new deal with Sony Pictures is another step in this direction. SF Studios and SPE have an existing relationship for theatrical distribution in the Nordics, which includes Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

“With the existing theatrical distribution arrangement between SF Studios and SPE in place, this is a natural next step between our two companies and is a great partnership to bring our feature and television titles, both current and future hits as well as the power of our library, to the Nordic and Baltic market,” said Louise Emblem, VP of distribution and networks for Nordics and Benelux at Sony Pictures. 

Established in 1919, SF Studios has headquarters in Stockholm and offices in Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki and London. The company is producing and distributing feature films and TV series as well as providing digital services SF Anytime and SF Kids. SF Studios is part of Nordic media company Bonnier.

Sony Pictures Ups Fiscal Half-Year Home Entertainment Revenue 36%

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Oct. 28 reported second-quarter (ended Sept. 30) revenue of $171 million, which was up 6.8% from revenue of $160 million during the previous-year period. Through six months of the fiscal year (ending March 31, 2021), home entertainment generated $490 million in revenue, which is 36.1% higher than $360 million generated during the same period last year.

Sony has generated strong packaged-media and digital sales from Jumanji: The Next Level, Bad Boys for Life, Little Women, Bloodshot, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Flatliners, among others.

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As expected, Sony Pictures theatrical revenue nosedived 98.2% to $13 million due to exhibitor shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic, and Sony’s decision to delay all major box office releases until 2021. The studio generated box office revenue of $715 million in the previous-year period.

The studio released just two new movies into movie theaters in the quarter: The Broken Hearts Gallery ($4 million) and The Last Shift, which generated zero revenue.

By comparison, Sony in the previous-year period released Spider-Man: Far From Home ($1.13 billion); Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ($356 million), The Angry Birds Movie 2 ($125 million) and Overcomer ($33 million).

Sony Pictures Television revenue grew 24.4% to $529 million, from $425 million last year. Ancillary revenue skyrocketed to $145 million from just $6 million last year.

When also factoring in TV productions ($480 million), media networks ($470 million) and intersegment revenue of $4 million, total motion picture revenue totaled $1.81 billion, down about 25% from revenue of $2.42 billion last year.

Sony Pictures Combining Home Entertainment, TV, Theatrical Marketing; Wong Gets New Key Role

Sony Pictures Entertainment is combining marketing teams between theatrical, television and home entertainment distribution, with veteran home entertainment executive Lexine Wong assuming a new key role.

The reorganization, which precedes Sony’s fiscal results on Oct. 28, is expected to reduce staff by about 35 personnel. The studio cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in part for the changes, including the fact Sony is holding off releasing most major movies until 2021.

Under the management reshuffle, Keith Le Goy,  president of networks and distribution, and Josh Greenstein, president of the motion picture group, will jointly oversee studio marketing. Andre Caraco, co-president of global marketing, is exiting after 30 years at Sony.

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Wong, previously senior EVP of worldwide marketing for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, becomes head of global multichannel distribution marketing. She is one of three executives managing Sony’s new U.S. marketing group, along with Paul Noble and Danielle Misher, co-heads of global theatrical marketing. All three report into Greenstein and Le Goy.

Josh Greenstein and Keith Le Goy

Additional flow chart changes have Jason Spivak, EVP of distribution for North America television and home entertainment; Flory Bramnick, EVP of distribution for North America television and ad sales; Adrian Smith, president, domestic distribution for theatrical; Paul Littmann, EVP of distribution for global; Jamie Stevens, EVP of worldwide consumer products; and Jeffrey Godsick, EVP of brand strategy and global partnerships, all reporting to Le Goy and Greenstein.

Because of the coronavirus-induced closure of movie theaters, Sony Pictures has pushed most of its big movies into 2021, including Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Venom: Let There Be Carnage. The studio’s next big wide release is Monster Hunter, scheduled to open in theaters on Dec. 30.


‘The Craft: Legacy’ Coming to PVOD, Digital Sellthrough Oct. 28

The Craft: Legacy will be available in time for Halloween Oct. 28 on PVOD for a 48-hour rental period at $19.99 and for digital purchase at $24.99 from Blumhouse Productions, Red Wagon Entertainment and Columbia Pictures.

An international theatrical release is anticipated in several territories, with details to be solidified in the weeks ahead, according to the producers.

A continuation of the 1996 film The Craft, in which aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers, the film is written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones and stars Cailee Spaeny (Bad Times at the El Royale, On the Basis of Sex), Gideon Adlon (The Society, Blockers, The Mustang), Lovie Simone (Selah & the Spades, Greenleaf), Zoey Luna (Pose, Boundless) and Nicholas Galitzine (Cinderella), with Michelle Monaghan and David Duchovny.

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“I’m thrilled to be able to share The Craft: Legacy with audiences all over the world this Halloween,” Lister-Jones said in a statement. “It’s been a true privilege to take on such an iconic title. I can’t wait for the world to meet the incredible young women who make up our new coven.”

“Zoe Lister-Jones has put a bewitching twist on continuing The Craft franchise, and October is the perfect season for it,” producer Jason Blum said in a statement. “We’re thrilled that our partners at Sony Pictures are looking at the landscape opportunistically this Halloween, for audiences to watch at home in the U.S.”

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 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.

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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.