Posts Tagged “Sony”
Sony has stirred up the ire of theater owners with its plans to offer Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs to owners of Internet-enabled Sony brand Bravia TVs a mere 81 days after its theatrical bow. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
Exhibition sources said Tuesday that at least four major theater chains were poised to pull "Meatballs" from theaters: Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Marcus Theatres.
Distributed in both 2D and 3D versions theatrically, "Meatballs," which bowed Sept. 18 in theaters, played last weekend in a total 1,126 venues and was expected to shed at least a few hundred engagements starting Friday. As a result of the exhib protest, "Meatballs" could play in as few as 300 theaters beginning this weekend.
"Meatballs" rung up $1.3 million last weekend. So the accelerated wind-down to the pic's theatrical campaign likely will cause a modest but quantifiable revenue loss for Sony. There's been little reaction from the DVD retail community to the distributor's digital moves with "Meatballs" and "Hancock," perhaps due to the high $24.95 price for the digital viewing.
Stay tuned to your Internet-enabled TVs...
, Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
, release windows
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The L.A. Times is reporting that Sony has agreed with theater owners to hold off on releasing the DVD for the Michael Jackson concert documentary, This Is It, until after Christmas.
Sony Pictures desperately wanted to release the DVD of the Michael Jackson concert movie "This Is It" for the holiday shopping season, but backed down after movie theater owners balked that it was too soon following the film's theatrical premiere.
"This Is It" opened in 99 countries yesterday and is scheduled for a limited two-week run, though the studio may extend that depending on ticket sales.
Sony had hoped to capitalize on audiences' heightened interest in what turned out to be Jackson's final performance by releasing the DVD in mid-December, about a month after the movie ends its short time in theaters. The disc is now expected to come out in late January or early February.
As noted in recent posts here, the theatrical release window is a question of considerable concern for theater owners. Negotiations between studios and theater owners can become quite intense.
"We felt we made a pretty good case as to why this movie was different," said Jeff Blake, vice chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, who oversees worldwide marketing and distribution.
However, the movie theater owners refused to budge.
"We had several conversations with Sony and so did our members," said John Fithian, president of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners, an industry trade group. "Anytime we see the window go under three months, we alert our members and raise concerns with the studios."
After hearing complaints from executives at several of his member companies, Fithian said, "I raised a general concern with Sony about the extraordinarily short window."
After talking with theater owners, Sony, whose DVD releases on average come out four months and four days after a movie's theatrical run, reluctantly decided to back off from its request in order to preserve good relations with them.
"We didn't want it to be an issue," said Blake. "At the end of the day, we wanted a big theatrical run and they certainly stepped up and supported that with 6,000 screens in 3,481 theaters."
However, the Sony executive acknowledged that he was sorry the studio didn't get what it it wanted. "It would have made a big financial difference to us," he noted.
This Is It grossed $2.2 million in late Tuesday night debuts. Wednesday grosses have been estimated anywhere from $8-10 million. Offical numbers are expected from Sony later today.
Tags: Jeff Blake
, John Fithian
, Michael Jackson
, release windows
, theater owners
, This Is It
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The industry-wide digital cinema roll-out moved a step closer with Sony's announcement that it had signed a VPF agreement with Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP), the consortium formed by AMC, Cinemark and Regal to manage their transition to digital. That leaves only Warner Bros. among the major studios to be without a VPF agreement for the second phase of the digital cinema conversion.
"We're in the middle of negotiations," Warners domestic distribution president Dan Fellman said. "We're close. So we might be the last one, but we're going to get there."
Sony signed its VPF pact with Digital Cinema Implementation Partners several weeks ago, but the news was delayed pending internal review of the formal announcement.
Through VPFs, studios volunteer to pay the equivalent of print costs for years after switching to digital distribution as a means of defraying most exhibitor costs to convert auditoriums. Sony refers to its VPF as a "digital conversion fee."
For Warners, set to release more films this year than any other distributor, the cost of a VPF is likely to run considerably higher than that for studios with lower annual output. Sony also is among the most prolific film distributors.
Of course, the roll-out will depend on the unlocking of the credit markets as the DCIP 14,000-screen deal alone will cost in the billion dollar range. Then comes the Cinema Buying Group's (CBG) approximately 7,000 screens - a more complex deal despite the smaller size owing to the number of companies, the diversity of markets, and types of theaters involved.
Tags: Cinema Buying Group
, Digital Cinema
, Warner Bros.
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