Sony is a tale of two cities based on its most recent earnings reports. While Sony Corp. earned $722 million overall, a 282% rise from the same fiscal period (April to June) compared to last year and a record quarterly result, the studio’s film division (Sony Pictures) posted a loss of $86 million, according to THR. Taking the long view, revenue was up 12.3% overall and the movie department’s losses were actually an improvement compared to last year’s quarter (-$103 million). But a loss is still a loss. So with Sony Music and consumer electronics both pulling its weight, how does the company plan on getting Sony Pictures back on track?
On Tuesday, upper management said at the earnings press conference at Sony’s Tokyo headquarters that “there are hundreds of Marvel characters; we will be proactively leveraging such IP going forward,” THR reports. This brings up a few interesting questions.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is an absolute no-doubt-about-it-hit, but it isn’t quite the global box office smash that the studio might’ve been hoping for. Still, it’s obvious that Sony’s partnership with Marvel has yielded fruitful results and now the studio is once again trying to strike out on its own in the comic book world.
The Tom Hardy-led Spidey spin0ff Venom — which is unconnected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — will hit theaters next year and Sony is probably angling for something in between FOX (FOXA)’s Deadpool and Logan both in terms of tone and ticket sales. Outside of that, Sony Corp. did not clarify whether they would develop further projects focused on the small handful of Marvel characters that it already owns or try to license more characters from Marvel Studios via partnerships. Previous attempts at a Sinister Six spinoff movie that would establish a Spidey cinematic universe failed pretty miserably, so it will be interesting to see how Sony proceeds.
“Tony Vinciquerra took over as head of Sony Pictures on June 1, and he has experience managing various entertainment businesses and has accomplished much in his career. He is currently assessing all aspects of the business,” Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida said via THR.
Assess away. With the rights to the James Bond franchise up for grabs and the cautious optimism surrounding the threebooted Spider-Man, Sony Pictures is facing a very crucial crossroads at the moment.