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Sony Pictures Sales +9.3% In June Quarter As Parent Co Reels From Earthquake Expenses

Sony Pictures’ strong performance in the quarter that ended in June stood out as the corporation reported a net loss of $191M on revenues of $18.5B, down 10% vs. the same period last year. Sony attributed the decline to the effects of this year’s earthquake and tsunami as well as lower-than-expected sales of TV sets and other consumer electronics. As a result, Sony lowered its net profit forecast for the year ending March 2012 by 25% to $771M.

Home video sales for The Green Hornet, Battle: Los Angeles, and Just Go With It as well as television ad revenues from India contributed to the $1.78B fiscal 1Q for Sony Pictures. The company says that the unit delivered $53M in operating profit, up 50.4% vs. the same period last year. Results were somewhat muddled at Sony Music due to currency exchange issues. Its profits were 61.4% to $149M on sales of $1.35B, down 0.6%. But the company says the slight drop is largely due to the appreciation of the yen vs the U.S. dollar. Factoring that out, the music operation’s sales were up 7%. Best sellers for the quarter included recordings from the TV show Glee, Adele’s 21, Beyonce’s 4, and Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light.

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DirecTV Reveals Details of Premium VOD Service

DirecTV said today that it is launching its much-discussed premium video-on-demand service on Thursday, with Sony’s Just Go With It the first movie available to subscribers. Universal, Fox and Warner Bros also are in on the partnership, and cross-channel promotions begin today, followed by national ads. Under terms of the service, a movie will become available to download every two weeks for $29.99, which gets the user multiple views over a 48-hour period before the film disappears from the hard drive. All films will be in 1080p HD and Dobly 5.1 Surround Sound.

Other films in the early rollout include Universal’s The Adjustment Bureau, Fox’s Cedar Rapids and Warner Bros’ Hall Pass.

At a second glance, the VOD service seems a bit less than meets the eye. It is available only to DirecTV subscribers who have HD DVRs — that’s only about 6 million of the satellite company’s 19.2 million subs — and only one movie is available every two weeks. Not that any of that is much consolation to steamed theater owners, who have slammed the service for shrinking the theatrical window and are forming plans to retaliate against the studios by limiting their films’ trailers and signage.

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FX Acquires Six No. 1 Movies

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: FX is sticking to its strategy of buying marquee movies with the recent purchase of the TV rights to six films, all of which opened at No. 1 at the box office. The list includes Disney’s Tron: Legacy, which has grossed $171.6 million domestically; Sony’s The Green Hornet, which has cleared $97.5 million to date; Screen Gems’ The Roommate, whose current domestic haul stands at $37.2; Sony’s Just Go With It, starring basic-cable-friendly Adam Sandler ($94 million to date); Paramount’s animated Rango ($68 million after 10 days of release), directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp; and the current box-office champ, Sony’s Battle: Los Angeles, which opened with $35.6 million this past weekend. The six films will begin their run on FX in early to mid-2013. Their license fees are said to be 10%-12% of their domestic box-office range.

FX started to systematically target for acquisition No.1 box-office movies a couple of years ago, with the first wave of those movies recently starting to make their way to the network’s lineup. Year-to-date, FX’s primetime movies have averaged 934,000 viewers in the adults 18-49 category, up 28% from last year. The movies outperformed the average for FX’s primetime lineup, which is up 20% from 2010. (In addition to movies, FX airs original programming and Two and a Half Men reruns in primetime.) FX’s most recent premiere of Madagascar 2 on Friday night drew 1.1 million viewers in 18-49, with … Read More »

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‘Gnomes’ No. 1 In Third Week Of Release; ‘Hall Pass’ Drops To #2; ‘Drive Angry’ #9; Oscars Fave ‘King’s Speech’ Doesn’t Stutter

SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Hollywood movies continue to underperform domestically since the start of the new year, including this weak weekend when the film industry honors its best 2010 offerings at Sunday’s Oscars. Talk about a reality check! Here are these Top 10 North American box office numbers:

1. Gnomeo & Juliet 3D (Disney) Week 3 [3,037 Theaters]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $6.3M, Weekend $14.2M, Cume $75.1M.

Who gnew that in its 3rd week of release, this 3D animated toon would rise to #1 at the domestic box office? Gnoone! Because last night when I updated box office, studios were still saying it was behind Hall Pass. But there’s a dearth of family films at the box office and those Saturday kiddie matinees continue to be great gnews.

2. Hall Pass (New Line/Warner Bros) NEW [2,950 Theaters]
Friday $4.7M, Saturday $5.7M, Weekend $13.4M

Owen Wilson went on Leno accompanied by a clip from his past hit movie Wedding Crashers – and then had to hawk this weekend’s unsuccessful Hall Pass. Interesting how New Line has done well with its string of estrogen rom-coms, but then returns to its old formula of testosterone male-bonding films and falters. Had it stayed in first place by the end of the weekend, it would have been the lowest grossing #1 in two years. Hollywood expected this Farrelly Brothers comedy to pass $20M and instead the pic greatly underperformed. But not for lack of trying. Warner Bros marketing campaign attempted to leverage the R-rated concept and the Farrellys’ past successes and the newbie/vet comedy combo of SNL‘s Jason Sudekis/Owen Wilson — but failed. Challenge was positioning the pic primarily to men but also not turning off women. Trailers were paired with Due Read More »

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Official: ‘Unknown’ Edges ‘Gnomeo’ For #1

TUESDAY AM: I’m told that actuals show Dark Castle/Warner Bros’ Unknown won Presidents Day Weekend with $25.450 — but it was very, very close with Disney’s Gnomeo & Juliet which ended with $25.415M. DreamWorks/Touchstone/Disney’s I Am Number Four finished with $22.7M. Sony’s Just Go With It took in $21.5M. New Regency/Fox’s Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son made $18.7M.

Prez Weekend: ‘Unknown’ #1, ‘Gnomeo’ #2; ‘I Am Number Four’ #3, ‘Just Go With It’ #4, ‘Big Mommas’ #5; ‘Justin Bieber’ #6

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Adam Sandler Beating Justin Bieber For #1





SATURDAY PM UPDATE: Sources tell me that the studios are having difficulty getting their nightly Rentrak numbers. But initial intel is that this back-and-forth North American box office battle for #1 isn’t over yet and may continue until Sunday night. Sony Pictures’ Just Go With It, starring the sometimes funny Adam Sandler and the always annoying Jennifer Aniston had a big Saturday jump (+41%) from Friday with $13.4M in grosses. If that holds, then this latest Valentines Day-timed rom-com could come in at $31.2M for the weekend. As for Paramount’s PG-rated Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D, “Bieber fever hasn’t broken but at least he’s sweating,” a rival studio exec said tonight. Even with higher 3D ticket prices but about 450 less theaters, the punk kid held strongly from Friday to Saturday with only a -13% drop for $10.7M which would put the kid at $30.2M for the weekend. As for other openers, Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet 3D opened with a soft $6M Friday but that was doubled Saturday by the matinee kiddie bump for a $25.4M weekend. And Focus Feature’s PG-13 The Eagle had decent numbers in both major cities and suburbs.

Here’s the Top 10:

1. Just Go With It (Sony Pictures) NEW [3,548 Theaters]
Friday $9.7M, Saturday $13.4M, Weekend $31.2M

If the rom-com holds at No. 1, then like him or not, Adam Sandler’s track record as one of the most consistent top performers in the business continues. This latest is based on the old Cactus Flower play/movie (which itself was based on a French play) by Sandler’s Happy Madison production company and directed by Dennis Dugan. But by now who hasn’t seen this dumbass premise of a single man who pretends to be married all over The Hallmark Channel? Yet it received an “A-” CinemaScore overall and an “A” from females despite lousy reviews. Just Go With It, should also be the main Date Night movie choice on Valentine’s Day so expect to see a substantial spike on a typical non-holiday Monday. Last weekend, Adam did a lot of press during the Superbowl as well as MTV Networks (including VH-1, Spike, and Comedy Central) where special interstitials were created with footage from the film. Additionally, there was a TNT and NBA promo tied to the upcoming NBA All-Star Game, while Sony worked with ESPN for a special “Just Go With It Moment” promo which was cut using footage from last year’s Game 7 final match-up, and a clip from the film.

2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D (Paramount) NEW [3,105 Theaters]
Friday $12.5M, Saturday $10.7M, Weekend $30.2M

In terms of Disney comps, this is less than the $31M opening weekend of Disney’s 2008 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour pic but massacres 2009′s Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience opening weekend of $12.5M. Considering Bieber’s pic had a budget of only $13M, the punk did fine. (But if he’s “living his dream” at soon-to-be age 17, then mine is to send him packing from Hollywood until his testicles descend.) Born out of production boss Adam Goodman’s Paramount Insurge initiative overseen by Amy Powell to find talent from the Internet, this is the first offering. Goodman came up with the idea of pursuing a Bieber pic, so he, Powell, Megan Colligan, and Rob Moore traipsed to the Target Center in Minneapolis to watch the kid’s concert first-hand at the end of June. Negotiated with LA Reid of Island Def Jam records and Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, the idea was to follow Bieber’s journey to a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Justin’s Internet army of fans were enlisted to submit photos and videos that would be incorporated into the film and the initial one-sheet. At the end of November, the decision was made to let fans pay $30 to sneak the film complete with souvenir purple glasses and wrist bands. About 60,000 fans saw the film Wednesday so they could spend Thursday and Friday spreading the word at schools. Paramount only included the value of the ticket in its box office reporting, though. The premiere featured a stunt with Ellen DeGeneres (who early on identified Justin as a star) after his Tuesday appearance on her show: Usher showed up with a fleet of vans and brought Ellen’s entire audience of over 300 people to the premiere. The promotion included sister company MTV’s Jersey Shore and The Situation to let teens know this film was not just for tweens. Meanwhile, Bieber’s mom went on Christian Radio to make inroads with faith-based audiences.

3. Gnomeo and Juliet (Disney) NEW [2,994 Theaters]
Friday $6.1M, Saturday $11.5M, Weekend $25.4M

The project was at Miramax and, as part of the recent sale, Disney kept the film which was distributed by Touchstone. Executive Produced by Elton John and his Rocket Pictures, Gnomeo & Juliet is the only animated film in the marketplace right now. The soundtrack released February 8th from Buena Vista Records  features 9 songs from the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, performed by Sir Elton. (There’s a remake of Elton’s 1973 hit, “Crocodile Rock” sung with Nellie Furtado.) The voice cast included James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Patrick Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, Dolly Parton, and Hulk Hogan. Shrek 2‘s Kelly Asbury directed what was billed as  “the greatest love story ever told” starring… garden gnomes with plastic pink flamingoes and lawnmower races in the mix.

4. The Roommate (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 2 [2,534 Theaters]
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $8.5M (-43%), Cume $26.1M

5. Eagle (Focus Features) NEW [2,296 Theaters]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $3.5M, Weekend $8.5M

Focus will hit projected numbers if the film makes $8 million for the weekend. Tracking best with men both over and under 25 (strongest with men over 25), the film had a budget of mid-$20sM and strong international pre-sales. Reviews were only mixed (35% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, 55% on Metacritic). The film drew a mostly male, ethnically diverse audience: 64% Male, 47% Under 30, 62% Under 35, 38% Caucasian, 27% Hispanic, 21% African American, 13% Asian. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Just Go With It’

Mike Fleming

Here’s the new trailer for Adam Sandler’s next comedy, Just Go With It. Jennifer Aniston co-stars but the focus is on Sports Illustrated swimsuit model-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker, who is now shooting Battleship for Universal. Conspicuously absent from this trailer is Nicole Kidman even though she’s listed in the credits of the Sony Pictures comedy that debuts February 11, 2011.

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