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Sony Reports Year-End Loss And More Bad News Ahead

Now we know why Sony wanted to announce yesterday that Kazuo Hirai will replace Howard Stringer as CEO in April. U.S. shares are down about 5.4% in pre-market trading after the electronics and entertainment giant released a fiscal 3Q report filled with tales of woe — including in its filmed entertainment and music businesses. In the last three months of 2011, the company generated a net loss of $2B, down from a profit in the period last year, on revenues of $23.4B, down 17.4%. What’s more, Sony lowered its forecast for the fiscal year ending in March: It now expects to wind up with a $1.2B operating profit, which is 10.2% lower than it predicted in November. Sony’s biggest problem is the declining sales of LCD television sets in Japan, Europe, and North America. Revenues for Consumer Products and Services fell 24.4% to $12.8B in the quarter. Revenues grew for filmed entertainment, by 7.7% to $2.1B, but due to high marketing costs and the disappointing performance of Arthur Christmas the unit’s operating profit fell 84.8% to $9M. The Music operation also struggled with sales down 11.7% to $1.6B, and a 21.7% decrease in operating income to $196M. Bestselling titles included Adele’s 21 and music from the TV show Glee.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Africa, Australia

‘Arthur Christmas’ Slays ‘Em In The UK
Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman’s Arthur Christmas jumped to the top of the UK box office this weekend – in its fourth week of release. This bit of holiday magic came courtesy of a £1.9 million weekend take for a cume of £11.5 million. The film has been holding steady in second place since it bowed on November 11 and this weekend faced off against Happy Feet Two for the family audience. Largely positive notices and the British voice cast — including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton — have no doubt been a local draw. Sony Pictures Releasing UK’s Peter Taylor said: “Opening a movie at No. 1 in such a competitive market as the UK is difficult enough, but to reach the top of the chart in the fourth week of release is almost unprecedented. We are all delighted.”

Tom Hooper Decides Against 3D For ‘Les Miserables’
Although director Tom Hooper flirted with the idea of filming the new movie version of the hit stage musical Les Miserables in 3D, the Oscar-winning helmer of The King’s Speech has decided to stick with 2D. Hooper told the BBC he had been “very tempted” to use 3D but worried that some audiences might “physically struggle” with the format. Not to worry, purists. “I can definitely announce it’s good old-fashioned 2D,” Hooper said at the British Independent Film Awards. “I wanted to make a film that would touch everyone. I believe the story is so strong, 3D is not essential.” Hooper added that the casting of Eponine and Cosette would be announced soon. “I’ve never done a film where big star actors are as obsessed with being in it as this.” Starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert, Read More »

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Familiar Field Battles For Best Animated Feature Annie Awards

Mike Fleming

The nominations are out for the 39th annual Annie Awards, which will be awarded February 4 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Here are the contenders for Best Animated Feature: A Cat In Paris, Arrugas (Wrinkles), Arthur Christmas, Cars 2, Chico & Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss In Boots, Rango, Rio, and The Adventures Of Tintin. The Annies are put on by the international animated-film society ASIFA-Hollywood and span 28 categories (for the complete list of nominees, click here). “We are really excited about the expanded list of nominations this year,” said Frank Gladstone, president, ASIFA-Hollywood. “All of the major animation studios are represented, as are some of the independent productions from Europe and South America. This certainly is a testament to the wide reach and appeal of animation and the people who create it.” The group also will bestow the Winsor McCay Award to Walt Peregoy, Borge Ring and Robert Searle for career contributions; the June Foray Award to Art Leonardi for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation; and a Special Achievement Award to tech company Depth Analysis.

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No Box Office Bounty For T-Day Weekend: ‘Breaking Dawn’ Still #1, ‘The Muppets’ #2, ‘Happy Feet’ #3, ‘Arthur Xmas’ #4, ‘Hugo’ #5

FRIDAY PM/SATURDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: Full analysis later this morning. But overall Thanksgiving holiday weekend moviegoing is looking like $230 million, which is still down -12% from last year. So the North American box office slump continues. Nevertheless, the Friday after T-Day is traditionally the biggest moviegoing day of the year, and this one didn’t disappoint. Parents and kids did come back into theaters Friday for some of the new family fare which didn’t speed out of the theatrical gate Wednesday or Thursday. It helped that critics bestowed good reviews and audiences gave great CinemaScores to Disney’s rebooted The Muppets which earned an ‘A’ and Sony Pictures’ Arthur Christmas an ‘A-’. But Summit Entertainment’s holdover Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 is still the undisputed winner of the holiday weekend derby. Martin Scorsese’s 3D film Hugo scored 97% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoesis and is holding its own considering that it’s playing on 2,000 less screens than all the competition. But it also cost a fortune after going wildly over budget. Meanwhile, The Weinstein Co didn’t provide new numbers yet for platforming its Oscar-buzzed My Week With Marilyn which added 61 markets including Canada for 244 runs Friday. It made $156K Wednesday and $155K Thursday for a projected $2M for the 5-day holiday. The Weinstein Co’s other Academy Awards-touted … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Arthur Christmas’

By | Wednesday October 5, 2011 @ 12:20pm PDT

Here’s a trailer for Sony Pictures Animation’s Arthur Christmas, the first pic to see the light under a three-year deal with Wallace & Gromit producer Aardman Animations. It premieres November 23. James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton do the voice work on the 3D film, which shows just how Santa is able to pull off Christmas each year.

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