Amazon.com’s acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has turned fresh attention from investors to the fates of independent Hollywood studios that would be a catch for larger streaming players. In particular, it has put a spotlight on Lionsgate Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment, which claim a trove of acclaimed movies and beloved characters, much like MGM. And crucially, they might find it similarly tough to go it alone as tech giants move aggressively to conquer the entertainment industry.
Netflix and Sony Pictures Entertainment have set a significant new licensing deal giving the streaming giant an exclusive window for the studio’s theatrical titles starting in 2022. The agreement, which replaces an output arrangement with Lionsgate-owned Starz dating back to 2005, provides Netflix with an 18-month exclusive window for Sony films. Multiple bidders had been angling for the rights for some time. Terms were not officially disclosed, but Netflix prevailed with an offer of $1 billion over four years, according to sources familiar with the deal.
Sony Pictures Entertainment merged its theatrical, home entertainment and television distribution marketing teams in the U.S., resulting in about 35 layoffs. The U.S. will be run from a central marketing group overseen by Paul Noble and Danielle Misher, co-heads of theatrical marketing, along with Lexine Wong, head of global multichannel distribution marketing.
The trends put it in a strong position as an “independent studio” that can also develop intellectual property from other units at Sony, Tony Vinciquerra said at a strategy meeting and investor day in Tokyo.
Count Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate among the early suitors for Endemol Shine, the global production group that is home to such well-traveled series as Big Brother, MasterChef and Black Mirror.
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Sony Corp. posted group-wide net income of $722 million, up 282% from the same quarter last year, as the company’s turnaround continued to bear fruit. Sony Pictures posted a loss of $86 million for the April to June quarter, compared to a $103 million loss in the same period last year. Sales were up 12.3%, helped by higher television production sales, offset by lower theatrical revenue along with advertising costs for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
He will reunite with newly installed CEO Tony Vinciquerra after working alongside him at CBS and Fox.
Tony Vinciquerra says he’s in no rush to replace Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who left the studio June 15 to take positions at Apple. But as the development season for the broadcast networks heats up with no clear successor, top agents and executives say it’s important to fill the role soon and with an experienced hand.
Federal investigators said the provocative notion of revenge sabotage doesn’t have a basis in fact. After FBI agents were briefed Monday, they concluded the security company offering the alternate theory did not have an accurate understanding of all the evidence, a U.S. official familiar with the matter said.
Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said Tuesday that Seth Rogen’s North Korea farce “will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day.” He said Sony also is continuing its efforts to release the film on more platforms and in more theaters. “We have never given up on releasing The Interview,” said Lynton. “While we hope this is only the first step of the film’s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.”
The cancellation, announced Wednesday, was a startling blow to the Hollywood studio that has been shaken by hacker leaks and intimidations over the last several weeks by an anonymous group calling itself Guardians of Peace. A U.S. official said Wednesday that federal investigators have now connected the Sony hacking to North Korea and are expected to make an announcement in the near future.
Sony Pictures Entertainment is warning news organizations not to publish details of company files leaked by hackers in one of the largest digital breaches ever against an American company.
Sony’s corporate email and other internal systems were knocked offline and copies of some unreleased Sony films are now being distributed on unauthorized file-sharing websites.
Layoffs are underway at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Sony Corp.-owned film and television studio that vowed late last year to significantly reduce its overhead. The cuts, which began Monday and will continue this week, include employees at divisions throughout the studio, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
Sony Pictures Entertainment and U.S. pay TV network Starz extended an agreement that gives Starz exclusive rights to Sony movies through 2021, blocking Netflix Inc from striking a deal with the Hollywood studio.