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‘How Do You Know’ Depresses Sony’s Earnings In A Dreary Quarter

Based on the company’s generally disappointing financial report this morning, it looks like Sony CEO Howard Stringer will have to keep waiting to see a big payoff from the strategy to meld entertainment hardware and software. For the quarter that ended in March, Sony says the industrywide decline in DVD revenues and the lousy results for its Jim Brooks film How Do You Know partly accounted for the 11% drop in movie and TV sales, which came in at $2.1 billion. But operating profits at the segment were up 8%, to $433 million, due largely to belt tightening and a one-time $325 million gain from its revaluation of its 40% stake in the Game Show Network. That will come back to bite Sony next year: The company projects that movie and TV revenues will improve in 2012, but profits will be down without the one-time benefit.

At Sony Music, the company says the continuing slide in CD sales mean that revenues will fall once again in 2012 after dropping 13% to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2011. But the operation’s cost-cutting efforts enabled it to report a $46 million operating profit, up from a $7.4 million loss last year.

Sony warned this week that a $4.4 billion charge to account for costs from this year’s tsunami and earthquake, as well as the recent cyber-attack on its PlayStation Network, would trash earnings for the the fiscal year that ended in March. The company says it wound up with a $3.1 billion loss on revenues of $86.5 billion, down about half a percent. Read More »

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Golden Globe: Cold Category Is Hot Again

Pete Hammond

Here’s news: awards consultants tell me that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is relaxing its rules slightly this year in order to  encourage distributors to choose the category they feel their movies belong in. But, of course, the HFPA still reserves the ultimate right to make the final decision as they always have. (In other words, don’t inappropriately enter the comedy/musical race just because you might have a better shot there.) Although most movie jockeying now is for Oscar contention, there’s an intense race forming already in the Golden Globe’s Comedy or Musical categories for Best Picture and Best Actor/Actress.

More than ever, studio awards consultants I talk to seem to be specifically targeting these categories once considered also-rans. But now they’re stepping stones toward gaining Oscar traction. Say what you will about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (and many do), it is still one of the few awards-giving organizations to make a distinct split between Drama and Comedy. And Hollywood loves that. Because the Globe pickers have opened up opportunities for campaigns to make a dent in the season and draw significant notice to movies that might not necessarily be on the top of the Best Picture Academy list.

Last year, the ultimate winners in these categories — The Hangover for Best Picture Comedy or Musical, Robert Downey Jr  in Sherlock Holmes for Best Actor Comedy/Musical, and Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia for Best Actress — did not repeat their feats at … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘How Do You Know’

Mike Fleming

James L. Brooks is back with How Do You Know, a relationship comedy from Sony Pictures that reunites Brooks with Jack Nicholson. Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson also star. The film opens December 17.

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