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 the same period a year prior. Operating income was reported in the black at $534M compared to a much bigger loss in the comparable period last year. Sales and operating revenue climbed 6.9% to $22.4B and that hike was largely due to a weakening yen along with boosts in the mobile products & communication, film and financial services divisions. The movie business saw a 30.1% increase to $2.4B in sales and operating revenue and $291M in operating income. In part, Sony has James Bond’s more than $1B in box office to thank for that. The global juggernaut Skyfall, along with Hotel Transylvania, helped boost the division with home entertainment revenues aided by the strong performance of The Amazing Spider-Man and Men In Black 3. The corporation expects to have positive net income this year which would be the first time it’s been profitable in half a decade.
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
The British Film Institute has released box office and production stats for the UK in 2012 that offer up a mix of good, bad and unsurprising news. Box office was up just a touch after being dented by summer events that turned attention away from the multiplex. At the same time, investment from abroad dropped drastically after a record 2011 that included the shoots of The Dark Knight Rises, Dark Shadows, Skyfall, Prometheus, Snow White And The Huntsman, World War Z and Wrath Of The Titans.
The overall UK spend of features that started production in 2012 was £927M ($1.47B), a 29% drop on 2011’s record-breaking £1.29B. A total of 26 so-called inward investment movies, including Warner Bros.’ All You Need Is Kill, Red 2 for Lionsgate/Summit, Paramount’s Jack Ryan and Universal’s Fast And Furious 6 and Kick Ass 2, contributed £631M compared to the 34 films in 2011 which spent £1B. Simon Oakes, producer of 2012′s top indie, Woman In Black, thinks the trend is cyclical. “I don’t think this is a forever stat. We’ll probably see this year that it will come back up again. Look, if there was an intention not to spend money by the U.S. studios in the UK, Warner Bros. wouldn’t have spent money on Leavesden,” Oakes tells me about the £100M+ Warner invested on a London-adjacent studio facility after the end of the Harry Potter franchise.
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have co-written five James Bond movies including the most recent Skyfall, have come on board to write Barbarella, Gaumont International Television’s upcoming series based on the character created by Jean-Claude Forest and made famous in the 1968 film of the same name staring Jane Fonda. Nicolas Refn will direct the series and executive produce alongside Martha De Laurentiis. Julien Forest & Jean-Marc Lofficier are co-executive producers. The BAFTA-nominated Purvis and Wade are repped by UTA and Casarotto Ramsey & Associates.
‘Skyfall’ On Track To Beat ‘Quantum’s China Cume In 7 Days
As of Thursday night, Skyfall’s 4-day cume in China was $17.9M, handily breaking the coveted 100M yuan mark. The film opened Monday and is playing on 8,079 screens in the country’s widest release ever. Sony says the 23rd James Bond film that has already broken the $1B mark internationally, is on track to outgross the last Bond film, Quantum Of Solace, in its first seven days in China. The movie’s release on Monday, at $5.1M, was almost three times that of Quantum. It came out amid reports of some tweaks by the local censors and calls by film industry insiders for reforms to the movie review system. Shi Chuan, a professor at Shanghai University’s school of film & TV arts and technology, proposed laws be put in place for censors to follow and said, “Movie regulators should respect the producers’ original ideas, rather than chopping scenes arbitrarily.”
BREAKING: The Oscars have perenially ignored James Bond, but this year — despite a snub for Skyfall in the Best Picture category — they’re upping the 007 quotient. Along with a tribute to the franchise’s 50th anniversary during the Oscar telecast, producers announced today that they’ve lined up Adele’s first live performance anywhere of the Oscar-nominated original theme song, “Skyfall.” A likely ratings draw, this will also be the British superstar singer’s first TV appearance since the Grammys last year. She’s nominated for writing the Skyfall tune along with Paul Epworth. Here’s the Academy’s release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Adele will perform the Oscar®-nominated theme song from the latest James Bond movie at the 85th Academy Awards®, the show’s producers announced today. “Skyfall,” from the film of the same name, was announced as a nominee for Original Song at the Academy’s Nominations Announcement on January 10. The song, written by Adele and Paul Epworth, is the first Bond theme ever to debut in Billboard’s Top 10 and the first to be nominated for an Oscar since “For Your Eyes Only” in 1981.
China: ‘Skyfall’ Opens Strong As Bond Film Debut And ‘Cloud Atlas’ Premiere Raise More Questions About Censorship
Both Skyfall and Cloud Atlas have been making waves in the Chinese media during the past few days, turning a spotlight on the notorious censors at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. They’ve also highlighted why, as my local contacts often refrain, doing business in China is never cut and dried.
James Bond juggernaut Skyfall opened to $5.1M in China on Monday, almost three times the debut of Quantum Of Solace. The film, which prominently features the Shanghai skyline and shows off Macau in what could pass for a travel brochure, is understood to nevertheless have had some scenes modified ahead of release, the BBC reported. The shooting of a Chinese security guard is said to have been excised, and a mention of torture by Chinese security services is said to have been subtitled to remove the reference. Mathew Alderson, a Beijing-based partner at law firm Harris & Moure who specializes in entertainment, tells me that although he has not seen the Chinese version of Skyfall, the reported cuts are “fairly typical examples of censorship. The Chinese are inclined to remove anything that portrays them in a negative light. It could be something as obvious and simple as having Chinese security guards appear ineffective, or because they wouldn’t want people to get the idea that you can walk into some building in Shanghai, kill the guard and walk up to the top of the building… It gets down to a bunch of censors who make decisions based on what they regard as better representing the national prestige of China and directly, or indirectly, the prestige of the Party.”
At the same time, a question hovers over Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer’s sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas which just had its Beijing premiere
Some Oscar dreams flourished and some were dashed with this morning’s announcement of the 85th annual Academy Award nominations. Academy voters can be as harsh as they can be predictable, and some snubs seem designed to sting. Thankfully some take it with a degree of humor. “I just got snubbed for a flu shot at CVS,” tweeted Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof today. Here are some of the directors, films and actors who got left out today even though they might have deserved better.
Kathryn Bigelow – The Zero Dark Thirty director was the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker– she won’t be repeating that feat this year even though her film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden was nominated for Best Picture. “Kathryn Bigelow was robbed. So f—ed up. #recount,” tweeted ZD30 producer Megan Ellison after the nominations were announced Thursday.
Leonardo DiCaprio – He got a Supporting Actor nomination from the Golden Globes for his Calvin Candie in Django Unchained but nothing today — cast mate Christoph Waltz got the nod.
Marion Cotillard – No Best Actress for her Rust and Bone performance?
The Intouchables – A big hit at home and France’s submission for Best Foreign film, this comedy-drama Weinstein released movie got treated like an untouchable.
Ben Affleck – No Best Director or Best Actor for Argo. Really? Even though it got a Best Picture nomination?
Skyfall – Yes it’s a James Bond movie. But, as the PGA recognized, it is a Sam Mendes-directed Bond movie starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem. It would have been a nice addition to the tribute the Academy plans for the Bond movies’ 50th anniversary during the Oscarcast, but Oscar himself was neither shaken nor stirred beyond Adele’s best song nom.
Cloud Atlas – Not even a technical nomination? The Academy must have really hated it.
John Hawkes – His performance in The Sessions made this past nominee seem a sure thing for a Academy Award nomination – what happened Oscar?
Rise Of The Guardians – That must have really hurt over at DreamWorks Animation this morning.
Related: OSCARS: Nominations By Picture
Quentin Tarantino – The Golden Globes gave the Django Unchained helmer a nomination and the Academy gave the movie itself a Best Picture nomination today but no Best Director for Quentin? Too much controversy?
Perks Of Being A Wallflower – If any movie called out for Best Adapted Screenplay, it was this coming of ager directed and written by Stephen Chbosky based on his own acclaimed 1999 novel. And yet Oscar offered no perks at all.
Christopher Nolan – Holy Oversight, Batman! Even though Inception was nominated for Best Picture in 2010 and he’s picked up a pair of writing noms, The Dark Knight Rises director has never received a nomination for his helming work — including on the hugely successful Batman franchise. And just like with 2005’s Batman Begins and 2008’s The Dark Knight, Nolan was again left off the Best Director list.
BAFTA Nominations Announced: ‘Lincoln’ Leads Followed By ‘Les Mis’ & ‘Life Of Pi’; Spielberg & Hooper Not Among Director Field
Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln leads the pack of nominees (see full list below) for the 65th EE BAFTA Awards, which were announced this morning in London by Alice Eve and Jeremy Irvine. Lincoln scored 10 nominations, though it did not pick up a directing mention. Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables each got nine nods, but Hooper (nominated here for The King’s Speech in 2010) failed to make the directing category. Working Title’s Tim Bevan, who has both Les Mis and Anna Karenina vying for prizes this year, told me he was surprised that Spielberg and Hooper missed out on directing slots but called it an “interesting year because [nominations] seem to be spread all over the place.” The takeaway, he said, is that Spielberg and Hooper are “swimming in a pool of extreme talent this year. Which is great for the movie business.”
Meanwhile, Skyfall, now the highest-grossing film in UK history, was nominated eight times, yet was noted in the Best British Film category and not the overall Best Film group. The only picture to cross over those two fields was Les Mis. The trio of Life Of Pi, Ben Affleck’s Argo and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty have both Best Film and Best Director slots. The two Best Director candidates whose films were not mentioned in the Best Film group are Michael Haneke for Amour (although it did also land Foreign Language, Original Screenplay and Leading Actress nods) and Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, which also picked up nominations for Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz and Editing.
BREAKING: It has only taken 007 half a century to get his due from the Academy. Oscars exec producers will include a tribute to the James Bond franchise, it was announced this morning. It’s a good idea from the standpoint of getting the masses interested in avoiding a snore-fest like last year, but the timing is also fortuitous for honoring moviedom’s most enduring feature franchise.
The most recent installment, the Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall, recently became the first 007 film to crack the $1 billion worldwide gross mark; also, Bond celebrated its 50-year anniversary with the Skyfall release.
It is a remarkable exception to how the Academy has historically dismissed the James Bond films as award-worthy. Only 1964′s Goldfinger and 1965′s Thunderball won awards, and they were for Best Effects. The 2006 film Casino Royale, which introduced Daniel Craig as 007 and is on my Top 10 favorite films, didn’t get a single Oscar nomination. Perhaps this year will be different — Javier Bardem’s villain character in Skyfall has so far been nominated for SAG and PGA Awards. I’m not sure about a Best Picture nomination, because there are so many worthy films up against Skyfall. At least the series will get a little bit of love from Oscar. Has 007 been done an injustice all these years by Oscar?
Here’s the official announcement:
Sony Pictures-MGM’s 23rd James Bond pic Skyfall became the 14th film ever to reach $1 billion globally, with a domestic cume of $289.6 million and $710.6 million internationally. Sony, which a month ago posted the studio’s best-ever performance at the box office with $4 billion worldwide, announced Skyfall‘s latest milestone today. Skyfall is the third pic this year to hit $1 billion globally, after Disney/Marvel’s The Avengers ($1.5B) and Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight Rises ($1.1B). Skyfall, by far the highest-grossing James Bond movie, is still going strong (No. 11 this weekend with $4.6M domestic), and has yet to bow in China.
Chinese box office takings were $2.3B for the January through November period, up from about $2.1B for all of 2011, the Xinhua news agency reports. And even though China has produced 686 movies so far this year, the majority of the coin is being generated by foreign films. Deputy head of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, Nie Chenxi, said today that the market share for imports is up 90.4% on 2011. Last year, Chinese films had 53.61% of the market, but figures for the first half of 2012 show local market share is down 4.3% to 35%. The numbers fall in line with the comments of another SARFT official who in November blamed the influx of imported films for having “shaken” the Chinese industry. In what’s perceived as an attempt to combat the weight of Hollywood, local authorities have increasingly scheduled tentpoles for release on the same date. The latest showdown is expected to be between Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which are understood to be set for a head-to-head release in January. Xinhua earlier this week reported that up to 40 local films will be released during the Chinese New Year season which runs from late November to mid-February.
It was already the biggest film of the year and the best 007 movie ever in the UK. Now, Skyfall has achieved yet another milestone to become the highest-grossing film ever in the territory. In 40 days of release, the 23rd James Bond movie has grossed £94,277,612 ($151,795,059) at the box office to overtake the previous record held by James Cameron’s Avatar, Eon Productions, MGM and Sony Pictures announced this morning. The Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall opened in 587 British theaters October 26 and has been breaking records ever since. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli commented, “We’re overwhelmed with gratitude to the cinema-going audiences in the UK who have made Skyfall the highest-grossing film of all time. We are very proud of this film and thank everybody, especially Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes, who have contributed to its success.” As of Sunday, Skyfall‘s North American cume was $245.9M.
Studios operator Pinewood Shepperton’s unaudited six month results for the year ended September 30 show a marked improvement over the last comparable period. Before-tax profits are at £3M largely reversing a £5.4M loss in 2011. Revenues were £27.1M, up from £24.6M and operating profit jumped from £3.7M to £6.1M. Specifically, revenues from film were £18.8M, up from £16.4M. During the period, the UK facilities hosted Disney’s Maleficent; Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World; Working Title and Universal’s Les Misérables; Paramount’s latest Jack Ryan pic, Maryland; Universal’s Fast And Furious 6, Marv Films/Kick Ass 2 Productions’ Kick Ass 2 and Eon, MGM and Sony’s Skyfall. Pinewood Shepperton CEO Ivan Dunleavy said “The number of film productions contracted so far for next year is encouraging and the Board looks forward to the future with confidence.” TV revenues, however, were down to £2.5M from £3.6M in the earlier period. That was due to the increased film activity that saw those productions spill over to the TV studios.
BREAKING… Sony Pictures today announced its biggest movie year ever at the global box office, passing $4 billion for the first time in the studio’s history. Thanks in large part to Skyfall becoming the biggest 007 film of all time (not adjusted for inflation, higher ticket prices, or IMAX premiums.) This weekend, the 23rd James Bond actioner grabbed a global cume of $669.2M and passed the $599.2M worldwide total taken in by Casino Royale in 2006. The box office success of Skyfall helped to push Sony Pictures past its previous high $3.585B set in 2009. The announcement was made by Jeff Blake, chairman of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for Sony Pictures. “Exceeding $4 billion globally is a true rarity in this industry and it’s an extraordinary accomplishment for all of us at Sony Pictures,” Blake said in a statement.
Besides Skyfall, contributing to the studio’s worldwide box office record this year was The Amazing Spider-Man ($754M), Men In Black 3 ($624M), and Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania ($283M) as well as strong performers Resident Evil: Retribution, Underworld: Awakening, The Vow, and 21 Jump Street. Right now the studio is ranked #1 in North American market share and had nine #1 films at the domestic box office with as of today totals $1.628B domestic and $2.4B overseas. That international box office figure is also a record for the studio. This year Sony Pictures has one more film on its release calendar, Zero Dark Thirty, from the Oscar-winning …
Gary Barber’s new agreement follows last month’s announcement that Roger Birnbaum — who had been co-CEO and co-chairman — will return to movie making. “We are thrilled he has chosen to stay at MGM on an exclusive basis,” Barber says. The CEO told investors on a conference call that the company is poised to see a dramatic rise in revenues in the current quarter with the success of its James Bond movie Skyfall, and the release next month of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in partnership with Warner Bros’ New Line. MGM generated net income of $23.4M in Q3, +55.4% vs the period last year, on revenues of $169.3M, virtually unchanged. In response to a question, Barber declined to update investors about the company’s thinking regarding an IPO. “We will update all stockholders at the appropriate time,” he says. MGM announced in July that it “submitted a draft registration statement on a confidential basis” to the SEC for “a possible initial public offering of its Class A common stock.” JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are managing the IPO plans.
MGM chief Gary Barber presented the forecast to his company’s investors today, saying that the film will become “the highest-grossing Bond film of all time.” He adds that Skyfall is performing “substantially above our expectations.” Barber also confirmed that the film’s screenwriter John Logan “has begun developing the scripts for the next two Bond films”, which we scooped last month. He provided no details about the plans, though. Privately held MGM, which is considering going public, went all out to generate interest in the Bond franchise ahead of Skyfall. The company’s Blu-ray package, Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection, was “a tremendous success at retail,” Barber says. MGM also created a temporary channel in the UK, Sky Movies 007 HD, that showed off the studio’s Bond library.
Skyfall is climbing higher and higher in the UK record books. The 23rd James Bond entry last week became the biggest film of the year in the territory and the top 007 film ever. Now, after about two and a half weeks in release, it has surpassed Titanic, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Toy Story 3 to become Britain’s second-highest-grossing film ever. Sony confirms the total local haul to last night is £74.3M ($117.7M). That also makes Skyfall the top-earning 2D film of all time in the UK. The biggest film ever in Britain is Avatar, with £94M ($148.9M). Skyfall crossed the $100M mark in North America earlier this week and as of Sunday the Sony/MGM/Eon production had a global cume of $518.6M.