“I think the film business is going to be a tremendous growth business,” said Jeff Shell today. Speaking at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Beverly Hills, the Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman rebuffed Jeffrey Katzenberg’s proclamation earlier this week at the same conference that “movies are not a growth business.” “Domestic ticket sales are flat but if you look internationally most of the markets are growing like crazy,” Shell said, noting that globally is where the vast majority of box office comes from now. The studio boss’ comments came just hours after Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes slapped down the DreamWorks Animation CEO’s remarks. DWA shares are down around 11% today after it took a $57M writedown for Mr Peabody & Sherman.
Shell was joined on the Entertainment: The Big Picture panel today by A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc, CBS boss Les Moonves and Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick.
“For anyone who is producing content today, the future is extremely bright,” said Moonves on the topic. While noting that his CBS Films is very small, Moonves pushed back himself against the DreamWorks Animation CEO’s remarks. “Anyone who is producing content and doesn’t see it as a growth biz is extremely mistaken.”
“I think film entertainment is a great business,” Shell also said. “Digital comes with lots of challenges but for the film biz the ability to watch content on all your devices” is great. Calling the big screen business “a phenomenal business,” Shell, who has only been in his job since the big shake-up at the studio in September, told the packed ballroom that “I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t think so.”
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