The numbers do the roaring for MGM. In the first three months of this year it generated net income of $57.4M, +150.7% vs the period last year, on revenues of $481.7M, +168.4%. It shouldn’t be a surprise. With the late 2012 release of the James Bond film Skyfall, and a 50% stake in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the studio had $139.5M in worldwide box office revenues, up from $0.5M last year. The company says that it has to wait for costs to be covered before it can recognize revenue from two films it co-financed: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Home entertainment also was way up — to $201.7M from $36.2M — with the home video release of Skyfall and piggy-back promotions for its James Bond library. But worldwide television licensing was -3.2% to $109.3M. MGM’s 19.1% stake in EPIX delivered $5M to net earnings, +16.3%. The results “exceeded our expectations” and “position us well to deliver on our financial goals” for 2013, CEO Gary Barber told investors.
The fiscal year ended March 31 marks Sony‘s first full fiscal year in the black since 2008. The company reported earnings today in Tokyo saying it had a net profit of $458M compared to a $4.6B loss the year prior. Sales were up 4.7% and overall were boosted by a drop in the yen and the success of the film division. Sony Pictures Entertainment saw profit jump 40.1% to $509M helped by The Amazing Spider-Man and Skyfall. Sony has sold off assets in the past year as it streamlines, but it still faces stiff competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung. However, the company is forecasting profits will rise by 16.1% for the next fiscal year with sales in the camera, game, home entertainment, music and film divisions expected to increase significantly.
A British secret agent, an unlikely pair of friends and a kidnapped ex-CIA operative helped boost admissions for European Union films across Europe by 12% in 2012. Despite a drop in overall attendance, market share for Euro films jumped to 33.6%, the highest level of the 2000s so far. The European Audiovisual Observatory said today that Skyfall, a majority UK co-production, was the biggest draw with 44.38M admissions across the Union. It was followed by two French films: The Intouchables at 24.07M and Taken 2 at 10.43M. Receipts hit a record high of 6.47B euros ($8.47B) reflecting hikes in ticket prices and the increase in 3D movies. Admissions for U.S. films were up slightly to 62.8% but were still far off the 68.4% achieved in 2010. The top three Hollywood performers were Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Dark Knight Rises and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.
The annual marketing kudos went big for Disney pics Iron Man 3, Wreck-It-Ralph, Monsters University, Brave, and The Avengers at the Golden Trailer Awards Friday night. The GTAs didn’t just fete the best movie promos of the year. They also doled out Trashiest Trailer (to A24′s Spring Breakers) and gave indie comedy Hit & Run the Golden Fleece award, awarded to a trailer better than its actual movie. Here’s the full list of winners:
‘Iron Man 3′ Breaks Records: $175.3M Sets 2nd Biggest Domestic Opening Weekend; Worldwide Totals Franchise Best $680.1M
SUNDAY AM, 9TH UPDATE: Walt Disney Company Chairman/CEO Bob Iger has his Wall Street earnings call on Tuesday and more good news to report with the stock already at an all-time high. Disney/Marvel’s 3D Iron Man 3 kicked off the North American summer movie season in 4,253 theaters with $68.3M Friday and a very good hold for $62.2M Saturday. With an estimated $44.7M Sunday, that $175.3M domestic weekend puts it on a path to the #2 biggest Friday-Saturday-Sunday opening ever (previously occupied by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 with $169.2M). But it’s behind Marvel’s #1 The Avengers and its $207.4M. Audiences gave Iron Man 3 a coveted ’A’ CinemaScore so word of mouth should stay strong. Exit polling showed that audiences mostly saw the film in 2D (55%) vs 3D (45%, including 9% IMAX), were overwhelmingly male (61%) and couples (52% vs families 27% and teens 21%). The age breakdown was 2-11 (9%), 12-17 (13%), 18-25 (23%) 26-34 (26%), 35-49 (20%), 50+ (9%).
Pic’s international cume to date is $504.8M through Sunday for an updated global box office of $680.1M. Iron Man 3 has now passed the franchise total worldwide for Iron Man ($585M) and Iron Man 2 ($624M). Internationally, the 12-day run of the Robert Downey Jr-starring/Shane Black-directed actioner has passed the total international box office of Captain America ($192M), Iron Man ($267M), Thor ($268M) and Iron Man 2 ($312M). Overseas it played in 54 territories by the end of the weekend after beginning its international rollout on April 24, debuting #1 in every territory and setting the biggest opening weekend of all time in Latin America and Asia Pacific and the biggest opening of 2013 in Europe. This weekend’s box office take from Iron Man 3 means that Disney has now crossed the $1B box office threshold internationally and represents the fastest time that Disney has ever achieved this. Here are the new Iron Man 3 cumulative results after the weekend: China $63.5M, Korea $42.6M, United Kingdom $38.3M, Mexico $35.8M, Brazil $30.1M, Australia $28.4M, France $27.8M, Russia $21.7M, Italy $17.4M, Japan $16.4M, Taiwan $15.1M, Philippines $12.3M, Indonesia $10.6M, Hong Kong $10.5M, Malaysia $10.5M, Germany $10.5M, other markets $113.8M.
If your trophy show is going to inaugurate its first new category since the Clinton administration, not a bad idea to dole it out to the third-biggest film of all time. Deadline has learned exclusively that the Golden Trailer Awards will lay its spanking-new Top of the Box Office prize for the year’s top-grossing film on the marketing superheroes behind Disney/Marvel’s superflick The Avengers. The trailer-topped statuette will go to Walt Disney Studios’ Asad Ayaz, SVP Marketing, Live Action and Marvel, and John “Ibby” Ibsen, SVP Creative Film Services. While saving the world, The Avengers made off with $1.51B worldwide last year, beating the No. 2 title, Sony’s Skyfall, by more than $400M. The 14th annual Golden Trailers — which honor achievement in movie marketing, including film trailers, posters and TV spots — will be handed out Friday at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Rob Schneider and Aisha Tyler are your hosts.
EXCLUSIVE: The indie film 5 To 7, which surfaced when Star Trek‘s Anton Yelchin signed to star, just got a major cast infusion. Glenn Close, Frank Langella, Skyfall‘s Bérénice Marlohe, Lambert Wilson and Olivia Thirlby have joined the cast of a film that is a co-production between Mockingbird Pictures and Demarest Films. Mad Men writer Victor Levin is directing the film, which starts shooting next month in New York. In the romantic comedy, Yelchin plays an aspiring novelist who has an extramarital affair with the beautiful wife (Marlohe) of a French diplomat. Cultures, world views, personal ethics and dietary preferences clash as love deepens. The pic is being produced and co-financed by Sam Englebardt and William D. Johnson of Demarest Films, and by Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures with their investor group as executive producers. The film is co-executive produced by Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel of The Solution Entertainment Group, which is handling international sales and will represent the film at the Cannes Film Market. CAA and WME are co-representing the U.S. rights.
UPDATE: 9:20 AM: Just two days after Disney announced that Iron Man 3 would open in China on the same day as its North American release May 3, the date has changed. The sequel from the studio and Marvel Studios will now open there May 1 to capitalize on the final day of the May Day holiday.
PREVIOUSLY, WEDNESDAY AM: This is the date Disney and Marvel Studios were eyeing all along for the pic, but Disney now has set it in stone. It’s now day-and-date with its U.S. release. Disney, Marvel and China-based producer-distributor DMG Entertainment have pulled out all the stops to promote Iron Man 3 in China, where it was partially shot, complete with a lavish 90-minute TV special about the movie that premiered over the weekend on national TV and will air in repeats until its release. The cast also includes Chinese stars Wang Xueqi and Fan Bing Bing. The release in China could mark a rebound for U.S. films in the territory: Last year, four foreign films were responsible for 56% of total sales in the first quarter, but in 2013 the only Hollywood pictures to punch above 300M yuan ($48.5M) were Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, according to reports. They were followed by A Good Day To Die Hard, Cloud Atlas and Resident Evil: Retribution.
The Motion Picture Association and the China Film Distributors and Exhibitors Association have released a study that says the film and TV business contributed $15.5B to China’s economy in 2011. Commenting on the report, Mike Ellis, president and managing director of the MPA for Asia Pacific, said, “Chinese audiences are seeking out and enjoying a variety of films, whether they are made locally, internationally or co-produced through collaborative international partnerships.” While box office is predicted to keep building regardless of where films come from, figures released recently by China’s film watchdog confirm what could be a disturbing trend for Hollywood: Local movies are taking a big bite out of ticket sales. The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said last week that homegrown films accounted for 69% of mainland box office revenues in the first quarter of 2013. The shift began with the late 2012 release of comedy Lost In Thailand, which broke about every record possible, went on to become the highest-grossing Chinese title of all time and gave a kickstart to 2013. But despite that movie’s eleventh-hour arrival, local pics still finished 2012 at a four-year low with a market share of only 48%. In the first three months of this year, however, Chinese films made 3.6B yuan ($582M) and six films broke the coveted 100M yuan ($16.2M) barrier. The top film was Stephen Chow’s Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons, which earned 1.25B yuan ($202.2M).
Last year, four foreign films were responsible for 56% of total sales in the first quarter. But this year, the only Hollywood pictures to punch above 300M yuan ($48.5M) were Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the Xinhua news agency reported. They were followed by A Good Day To Die Hard, Cloud Atlas and Resident Evil: Retribution.
Sony Pictures played it lean and mean with a tightly produced program for exhibitors at CinemaCon on Wednesday evening that put the emphasis squarely where the theatre owners wanted it — on the product. And the studio delivered as promised with an intriguing 51-minute reel showcasing their 2013 movie slate — and in no particular order. Where other studios this week have put the emphasis on summer, Sony presented a year-round picture with a wide diversity of product and more than one potential Oscar contender.
Among the previously unseen footage in the reel were brief snippets from year-end awards contenders The Monuments Men directed by and starring George Clooney and an all-star cast, along with David O. Russell’s newly named American Hustle with virtually the entire cast of last season’s Russell Oscar darling Silver Linings Playbook. Also, Tom Hanks is starring as Captain Phillips (October) from director Paul Greengrass, a true story about a ship hijacked by Somalian pirates. If this weren’t enough to whet Oscar-watcher appetites there was generous footage from 2010 Best Picture Oscar nominee Neil Blomkamp’s (District 9) latest, Elysium, which those who have seen a rough cut tell me could be another contender for the director. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star. There’s also a Russian production of a World War II epic, Stalingrad, from director Fedor Bonarchuk which the studio is partnering on for fall release that has “prestige product” written all over it.
The Weinstein Co.’s Silver Linings Playbook and leading duo Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper came up big at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, nabbing Best Female Performance, Best Male Performance, and Best Kiss at the annual fan-driven ceremony. Marvel’s The Avengers took home three awards including Movie Of The Year, while host Rebel Wilson and her breakout summer pic Pitch Perfect also garnered kudos. Meanwhile, Taylor Lautner of Summit’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 snagged a win out of the film’s lone nomination: Best Shirtless Performance. Here’s the full list of winners, highlighted in bold:
New York and Culver City, CA (April 9, 2013) – Michael Lynton, Chief Executive Officer of Sony Entertainment, Inc. and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has renewed his contract, it was announced today by Kazuo Hirai, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Corporation.
Lynton joined Sony Pictures Entertainment in January 2004 and, with Co-Chairman Amy Pascal, they put the studio on a path of stability and success across its lines of business. Lynton was appointed to the additional role of CEO, Sony Entertainment, Inc. in 2012, overseeing Sony’s global entertainment businesses, including Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Sony Pictures.
Rob Schneider and Aisha Tyler will host the 14th annual Golden Trailer Awards on May 3 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. More than 1200 submissions were received this year, an 11% year-over-year increase, in a total of 70 categories, with honors in 16 main Show Categories set to be presented during the ceremony along with an additional trophy for Best in Show. Here are the main categories (see the rest of the nominees here):
THE 14TH ANNUAL GOLDEN TRAILER AWARDS
SHOW CATEGORY NOMINEES
SUMMER 2013 BLOCKBUSTER TRAILER
“Iron Man 3” – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Trailer Park
“Fast & Furious 6” – Universal, AV Squad
“Man of Steel” – Warner Bros., Jennifer Horvath
“Pacific Rim” – Warner Bros., Trailer Park
“World War Z “Day”“ – Paramount Pictures, Buddha Jones
The founders of subscription music provider Rdio continue to scour Hollywood for licensing arrangements although most of the major studios appear to have some kind of deal with the company’s new video service. Beginning today Vdio will take on Apple’s iTunes and Amazon, among others, by offering movies on demand and download sales of movies and TV shows in the U.S. and UK. Deals vary, but Vdio says that it has “thousands of movies” (the company declines to be more specific) including Skyfall, Life Of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, and The Hobbit. TV offerings include The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Homeland, and Breaking Bad. It has agreements for Showtime and Starz shows, but not HBO’s. Initially the content will just be available on the Web, iPads and Apple TV to people who subscribe to Rdio, which offers unlimited music streaming for as little as $4.99 a month. Existing customers and those who sign up over the next 60 days will receive a $25 credit for Vdio. Film purchases won’t include UltraViolet streaming just yet, but CEO Drew Larner says “it’s something the studios want and believe in and we want to support.”
Additionally, FX president John Landgraf announced several high-profile limited/miniseries projects in development as the genre will become a cornerstone for FX’s sibling FXM (Fox Movie Channel): Grand Hotel from Sam Mendes, about a fictional terrorist plot in Paris; Sutton, from Alexander Payne and Michael De Luca, about the infamous bank robber; Mad Dogs, from The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan, based on the British black comedy/psychological thriller miniseries; and Mayflower, from producers Paul Giamatti and Gil Netter (Life Of Pi). (See their descriptions below.)
Sam Mendes’ psychosexual horror series for Showtime, Penny Dreadful, will be among the first U.S. TV dramas to benefit from the UK’s newly-approved TV tax relief for high-end productions. Legislation for a 25% tax credit for TV series costing at least £1M per hour to produce — plus animated programs and video games — has been given the state-aid greenlight by Brussels, clearing the last major hurdle before coming into effect April 1. Largely based on Britain’s Film Tax Relief scheme, which has provided about £800M in rebates to more than 800 movies since 2007, the new law requires productions meet a British cultural test. Co-productions made under an internationally recognized treaty may also be eligible, and it’s believed the new regs could inject about $570M into the local industry. But there are concerns that the potential £200M in relief available by 2018 could be gobbled up by U.S. productions that employ British talent on UK shores.
When first announced in March last year, the relief was considered an effort to stem runaway production. Shows like BBC Two drama Parade’s End and the Julian Fellowes miniseries Titanic, were made abroad. Downton Abbey is among the rare exceptions of big-ticket UK shows that have been produced at home, and I’m told it will now look to benefit from the break. But the scheme is also a means to encourage foreign shows to come to the UK. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne consulted both Disney and HBO to lay out the strategy.
Execs at privately held MGM won’t be able to play their cards so close to the vest after the James Bond film Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey helped to push company revenues for 2012 past $1B. (It ended up with $1.38B). That’s an SEC threshold that will require MGM to publicly disclose registration information it now can keep confidential, CEO Gary Barber told investors in a conference call. Might this make MGM more likely to go public, something it said last year that it’s considering? Barber punted: “We’re coming off of a banner year” which “gives us great options for the future…We look forward to exploring all of those options. Beyond that I cannot comment further.” The CEO also had little to add about Skyfall director Sam Mendes’ decision not to take on the next Bond film. “He decided to pursue other interests at this time,” Barber said, promising to announce a new director “soon.” The screenplay is being developed now and while there’s no timetable the CEO hopes it will be released within three years. With Skyfall and Hobbit working their way through the distribution pipeline, and other films coming including The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, MGM forecasts that this year’s revenue and cash flow will be close to last year’s. That “would be remarkable,” CFO Dene Stratton says.
When you look at the numbers for the end of 2011 and 2012, you’d almost think they’re from two different companies. In the last three months of 2012 MGM generated net income of $40.2M, up from an $11.3M loss a year ago, on revenues of $902.6M, +561%. Privately held MGM will release more detailed information about the quarter tomorrow. But the statement out today notes that the company revenues for the entire year rose 97.4% to $1.38B with worldwide theatrical up $661M — largely due to the year-end success of Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. “With back-to-back films each grossing worldwide box office in excess of $1B, MGM now has two of the top 15 films in box office history,” CEO Gary Barber says. Television licensing revenue was up 6.2% to $395M and home entertainment revenue was up $1M to $195M. There were no new home entertainment releases, but MGM says that the operation generated $96M in Q4 with strong results from its James Bond 50th anniversary promotions.
This should help Barnes & Noble a little as it tries to turn its NOOK Video into a viable alternative to iTunes and Amazon for those who want to buy movies and TV shows online. Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Relativity Media, National Geographic, Little Pim, and Film Buff have signed what the companies call “content licensing partnerships” that will “bring thousands of additional movies and TV shows for all ages and interests to the NOOK Video catalog.” Movie titles include The Hunger Games, the Twilight movies, Tyler Perry’s Madea Gets a Job, Skyfall, Rocky, Fargo, Flight, Paranormal Activity 4, Act of Valor, Safe Haven, and House at the End of the Street. TV series in the deal include Mad Men, Border Wars, Great Migrations, and Amazing Planet. “Combined with NOOK’s seamless UltraViolet integration, we are offering customers one of the most dynamic and accessible movie and TV show stores available,” says Jonathan Shar, NOOK’s General Manager, Emerging Digital Content.