Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton just laid out the new plan to investors as he discussed ambitious financial goals for the company’s entertainment units. That will include “a significant shift in emphasis from motion pictures to higher margin television” production and distribution. The company says that Sony Pictures should generate $8.4B in revenue in the 2015 fiscal year, with at least a 7.5% operating profit margin. In addition, Lynton says that revenues through 2017 should grow at low- to mid-single-digit annual rates, with operating income rising by high-single- to low-double-digit rates. He added that the music segment should report $4.8B in revenues in 2015, growing flat to slightly up through 2017, and a 9.5% operating margin growing by mid- to high-single-digit rates. The film greenlighting process is “more onerous from end to end,” Lynton says. “The times demand that we set a higher bar and we have done just that.” When it comes to dealing with talent, the studio warns that it will now be “saying ‘no’ when in the past we might have said ‘yes’.” Directors will be told that they are “on the financial hook for financial overruns.” When it comes to profitability “we are not satisfied.” In addition to the cost controls, the studio is looking for digital and international opportunities including “content with universal appeal.” It will foster an “innovative entrepreneurial culture” and encourage “creative excellence.” But financial discipline will be “front and center.” He noted that Sony is working with a “third party” — reportedly Bain & Co. — to help find cuts. Lynton also talked up the company’s “One Sony” strategy which includes producing documentaries about Sony Music artists including Michael Jackson, and hiring singer Adele to sing the theme to the James Bond film Skyfall. ”This is our time,” Lynton says. “We intend to seize it…and deliver to shareholders more of the profits that you deserve.”
The hit movies are the gifts that keep on giving for MGM. In addition to the jump in revenues, the studio says that James Bond and the residents of Middle Earth helped to raise Q3 net income by $23M …
UK films brought in $5.3B at the global box office, according to findings published today in the British Film Institute‘s annual Statistical Yearbook. The figure reps a 15% share of the world market and is the third-highest on record. The performance on British movies was led by James Bond pic Skyfall, the No. 1 film of all time in the UK at £103M loocally and $1.1B worldwide. Total UK box office was £1.1B. Admissions, however, were up only a half a percentage point, hampered by distractions that included the Queen’s Jubilee, the Summer Olympics and the Euro 2012 soccer tournament.
On the audience front, people 45 and over made up 36% of moviegoers. The now dominant demographic reflects a trend towards films made for and marketed to older audiences. Top among those titles last year were Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Anna Karenina. Younger audiences declined with the 15-24 age group decreasing from 31% in 2011 to 25% of the total in 2012. Marigold Hotel also led indie exports, taking $135M internationally, followed by The Woman In Black with $128M. Total UK film exports were worth £1.7B.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and MGM have started talks for Sam Mendes to return and direct Daniel Craig in the next installment of the James Bond franchise. Mendes helmed the last installment, Skyfall, an audience-pleasing film that grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide to become the biggest Bond film and the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time. John Logan is writing the next film.
There has been much speculation on whether Mendes would come back — right now he’s knee-deep preparing for the West End launch of the stage musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, which will then move to Broadway. That happened because Mendes bowed out, claiming that musical and King Lear were his new priorities and producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli seemed resigned and they moved on. Recently, he and the producers got back in touch. While Mendes’ first love is theater, it became clear that the producers wanted him and he wanted to return, and the only thing standing in the way were these stage commitments that Mendes felt obligated to do. So, they’ve decided to wait for him to work through those other commitments, and he’s now making a deal to start production probably next year. What’s the hurry? Craig doesn’t seem to have aged since he took the Bond role; he’s always in rocking shape. While Mendes looked doubtful, a bunch of names have been floated in the press, from Ang Lee to Nicolas Winding Refn and Christopher Nolan. I’m not sure there is much validity to any of them, but now it is a moot point, because Mendes will be the director of the next Bond.
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 …
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.
Shares are up more than 3.6% in pre-market trading after the provider of large-screen theater services released a surprisingly strong financial report for the last three months of 2012. IMAX says it generated net income of $12.9M, +105.9% vs the end of 2011, on revenues of $77.8M, +16.6%. The top-line number was comfortably ahead of the $74M analysts expected. And adjusted earnings at 23 cents a share handily beat the consensus forecast for 16 cents. Although the company didn’t break out results for individual films in the quarter, some analysts expected IMAX might surprise them after seeing the strong box office results for Sony and MGM’s James Bond film Skyfall, and Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Gross box office revenues for IMAX titles came in at a record $152M, +55.7%, with an average box office per screen of $264,400, up from $221,600.
Costume Designers Guild Awards: Jacqueline Durran Wins For ‘Anna Karenina’, Eiko Ishioka For ‘Mirror Mirror’, Jany Temime For ‘Skyfall’; TV Winners ‘Smash’, ‘AHS: Asylum’, ‘Downton Abbey’
Deadline’s Jen Yamato and contributor Ross Lincoln provided on-scene coverage tonight.
Anna Karenina‘s Jacqueline Durran and Mirror Mirror‘s Eiko Ishioka vaulted to frontrunner status for this year’s Best Costume Design Oscar by taking home top awards tonight at the 15th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards. Durran won the Outstanding Period Film Award, while Ishioka posthumously scored the Outstanding Fantasy Film nod. “One can only do great work if one is given a great opportunity”, Durran said in accepting her honor. Skyfall‘s Jany Temime took the third film award of the night for Outstanding Contemporary Film.
Other Oscar nominees on the shortlists tonight in the Beverly Hilton-set ceremony included Les Miserables‘ Paco Delgado, who in a pre-ceremony shout-out lamented Argo‘s Jacqueline West missing out on an Academy Award nom — “Argo had a vision of the ’70s I thought was so real, it’s a pity they didn’t get an acknowledgement”; Lincoln‘s Joanna Johnston; and Colleen Atwood for Snow White And The Huntsman.
On the TV side, Downton Abbey‘s Caroline McCall won the Period/Fantasy TV Series category, Lou Eyrich of American Horror Story: Asylum took the Television Movie or Miniseries trophy and Smash costume designer Molly Maginnis won for Contemporary TV Series. The night also featured Career Achievement Awards for Eduardo Castro (TV) and Judianna Makovsky (film), who also took the Commercial Costume Design award in addition to being nominated in the Fantasy category for The Hunger Games.
In other awards, Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels received the guild’s Distinguished Collaborator Award after being introduced by SNL alums Steve Martin, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph. Martin was spot-on in his stand-up intro, saying among other things about the CDG plaque he received: “Many men want a trophy wife, but no one wants a plaque wife.” Anne Hathaway was presented with the Lacoste Spotlight Award by her Les Miserables co-star Russell Crowe. “Some of the fondest memories of my life are… not the fittings, no!… but the results of the fittings,” she said. “Being pinned and needled, but you look down and you believe what you’re wearing, and when you look up, you are gone, and the character can come alive.”
Among presenters that also included Mirror Mirror star Lily Collins accepting Ishioka’s award, Shirley MacLaine delivered a hilarious series of zings in presenting the Period Film award won by Durran. “I purposefully want to be here to tonight to pay tribute to…all of you people who mess with your bodies and force you to stand still for hours, and also to balance my karma with you. I know I’ve been causing you a lot of grief for 65 fucking years,” she said to laughter. She then went on: “I’m here to present the… the…” — at this point pretending to forget — “the Period award! Sorry, its been so long”.
David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor
Leaving artistic issues aside, you could—at first glance—say that the competition for best original score isn’t a fair fight this year. Three of the nominees—Mychael Danna (Life Of Pi), Alexandre Desplat (Argo), and Thomas Newman (Skyfall)—have never won an Oscar, and one of them (Danna) is enjoying his first nomination. Dario Marianelli won once before, but his nom for Anna Karenina is only his third. So who’s the heavyweight in the ring? None other than John Williams (Lincoln), who has won five Oscars for original score, as well as one for adapted score.
Williams is basking in his 39th nomination for original score. His first was for The Reivers (1969), starring Steve McQueen. His closest competitor within this group is Newman, who is savoring his ninth nom since 1994, when he earned two—for Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption. Desplat is suiting up for his fifth round since 2006, when The Queen first brought him close to Oscar gold.
Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor
Few categories offer as much confusion in Oscar pools as best sound editing and best sound mixing. Unlike the more esoteric categories where few have seen the nominated films, most of the nominees …
Year-end hits including Sony’s Skyfall, Lionsgate’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, and Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey helped propel the year’s average ticket price to $7.96, which is a new all-time high (not adjusted for inflation) but up just 3 cents from 2011 according to data out today from the National Association of Theatre Owners. The growth rate, at 0.4%, is close to 2011′s 0.5% — and contrasts with the steep growth in previous years including 5.2% in 2010, 4.5% in 2009, and 4.4% in 2008. But the growth pace accelerated at the end of 2012: Tickets sold for an average of $8.05 in Q4, which is up 2.8% vs the same three month period in 2011. That’s the biggest quarterly jump since fall 2011. The average price in Q3 was $7.78, a 2% drop from the previous year. Ticket prices hit the high point for the year in Q2 when they reached $8.12, up 0.7% from 2011.
ASC Awards: ‘Skyfall’s Roger Deakins Wins Feature Film Honor; TV Winners Include ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘Wilfred’, ‘Hunted’
Skyfall director of photography Roger Deakins won the Feature Film honor tonight at the 27th annual American Society of Cinematographers Awards, two years after he won the society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Deakins, who didn’t attend because he is working on the Hugh Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal movie Prisoners, now becomes a frontrunner for the Oscar in the category, after Life Of Pi‘s director of photography Claudio Miranda won the BAFTA earlier in the day in London. (The ASC Awards noms pretty much mirror the Oscar nominees this year, with Deakins, Miranda, Anna Karenina’s Seamus McGarvery and Lincoln’s Janusz Kaminski nominated by both organizations. The only difference: Les Miserables’ Danny Cohen was up for an ASC Award and not an Oscar, and Django Unchained’s Robert Richardson is up for an Oscar but not an ASC.)
It was Deakins’ third win and 11th nomination for an ASC Award, having won previously for Shawshank Redemption and The Man Who Wasn’t There. His wife James accepted the award onstage at the ceremony, held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. She read a note he had prepared: “I share this award with everyone who worked on the production…filmmaking is truly a collaborative privilege.”
Deakins’ win for the James Bond pic capped a night in which Angelina Jolie made a surprise appearance to introduce the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Dean Semler, her DP on her 2011 directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey and on Disney’s Maleficent, in which she stars. “I called him up to help me on a film I was directing, not thinking I’d get him”, she said in her intro. ‘Who can shoot it like you can?’ I asked. He said me, and did it. After the call, I’m not embarrassed to say I danced around the room”. Said Semler: “Angie, you’re amazing and we’re so glad you’re here …. This award has to be the greatest any cinematographer can reach for”.
Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor
In a year filled with remarkable imagery, the work of the Oscar-nominated cinematographers stands out as integral to the success of the movies they shot.
The nominees bring broad experience to their films. Seamus …
Sony‘s third-quarter results for the period ending December 31 show a net loss of 10.8B yen ($124M). That marks the eighth straight quarterly loss for the Japanese giant but is a marked reduction from the $1.7B loss in …
Art Directors Guild Awards: ‘Skyfall’ Best Contemporary Film, Fantasy Film To ‘Life Of Pi’, Period Film ‘Anna Karenina’; Also ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’, ‘Girls’, 84th Oscars, ‘SNL’
Skyfall and James Bond were the big winners tonight as the Art Directors Guild handed out its 17th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards for 2012. Unlike the Academy, the ADG divides production design for film honors into in three distinct categories — Period Film, Fantasy Film, and Contemporary Film — allowing Oscar rivals Anna Karenina and Life Of Pi to both take home top trophies. Meanwhile, Skyfall and its production designer Dennis Gassner took the Contemporary Film honors during the awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton hosted by Paula Poundstone, who kept the stylish below-the-line crowd rolling with trade-oriented zingers throughout the night. (The ADG loves her — it’s Poundstone’s fourth consecutive year doing her outsider stand-up comic routine as emcee.)
Earlier in the evening, the Bond franchise’s production gurus Gassner, Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, and Allan Cameron were honored with the guild’s Cinematic Imagery Award, recognizing the longest-running franchise in film history for its visionary and innovative design. Gassner called the franchise “the greatest privilege of my life and career”. The only person to take the stage twice tonight, he joined the Bond team as production designer on Quantum Of Solace and Skyfall and is working on the next Daniel Craig-starring sequel, Bond 24. “It’s a joy to be able to work with such good people,” he said from the podium after winning the final award of the night, “because it’s such hard work.”
It won’t be the last we hear from Bond this awards season: the Academy plans its own tribute to the franchise, and Adele is singing the Skyfall theme, during the Oscarcast on February 24.
In other top honors tonight, production designer Sarah Greenwood staked her claim as the Oscar frontrunner, winning the Period Film prize for Anna Karenina, and David Gropman won the Fantasy Film award for Life Of Pi. Both brought their considerable crews onstage with them. “No designer acts by himself, so I thank my fantastic crew that helped me on this journey”, Gropman said.
Before the show, four-time Oscar nominee Greenwood spoke with Deadline about her ADG and Academy Award nominations for Anna Karenina (she won her first ADG award for 2010′s Sherlock Holmes): “I get more nervous [with each nominated film]. The first time we came out we had no idea what this was all about. You come in like an ingenue and you’re very naive. Now you come out and it’s quite scary, you’ve really got to keep it up. We always said Anna Karenina was a ‘marmite film’ — you either love it or hate it. And the reactions have been quite profound. People either got it, or they haven’t got it, and that’s fine. Joe had a very strong vision for this and we followed it through.”
Awards in nine categories of production design for film, television, commercials and music videos were announced during the evening, which saw Star Trek production designer and art director Herman Zimmerman receive the guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Family Guy creator (and Oscars 2013 host) Seth MacFarlane spoke of Zimmerman’s Star Trek legacy in a taped video: “Herman Zimmerman deserves a lot of credit that I don’t think he’s ever received for creating what is the most original production design for a spaceship that we’ve ever seen in the modern era of filmmaking.” The guild also enshrined Preston Ames, Richard MacDonald, and Edward S. Stephenson into the Hall Of Fame.
On the TV side, Saturday Night Live and the Academy Awards were repeat winners, while Girls (Judy Becker), Game Of Thrones (Gemma Jackson) and American Horror Story: Asylum (Mark Worthington) also scored. Following is a complete list of winners:
17th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards
Production Designer: Dennis Gassner
Gassner previously won the Oscar for his work on Bugsy the same year he earned an Oscar nomination for Barton Fink. He is a man of few words but has the presence of mind to add a last important thank you before he departs the dais: “Thank you to David Gersh, my agent.”
LIFE OF PI
Production Designer: David Gropman
Production Designer: Sarah Greenwood