Sony watch: studio looks for second-half 2012 surge

Sony Corp. and its Sony Pictures subsidiary (which includes Columbia Pictures) is looking for Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie, to be part of a surge in the second half of 2012 after a mixed first six months of the year.

Highs and lows in first six months: Last month’s Men in Black 3 (which had Skyfall’s teaser trailer attached): has seen its worldwide ticket sales pass the $500 million mark, according to June 18 story in the Los Angeles Times. The movie, though, had a reported $250 million production budget and a reported total cost of $375 million.

The 21 Jump Street comdedy in March (based on a TV drama that helped make Johnny Depp a star) has been described as a hit, getting good reviews and selling $36 million in tickets its weekend ticket sales in the U.S., and $137 million total versus a $42 million production budget. Meanwhile, Adam Sandler That’s My Boy comedy flopped, selling $13 million in tickets its opening weekend after costing a reported $65 million to make. Sandler movies had been a consistent money maker for Sony.

Second-half hopes: Sony is rolling out The Amazing Spider-Man, starting the Peter Parker saga over following the 2002-2007 three-picture series. Viewers will get yet another take on the original Stan Lee-Steve Ditko origin story. The movie is showing up internationally and will be in U.S. theaters in time for the July 4 holiday.

Sony in August has Total Recall, a remake of a 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film . The new version got a boost this week. Universal decided to delay The Bourne Legacy movie to Aug. 10 from Aug. 3, avoiding a head-to-head competition with Total Recall. According to THIS STORY on Nikki Finke’s Deadline entertainment-news Web site, there had been complaints from movie theater executives about both films coming out on Aug. 3. Sony, meantime, also has a Meryl Streep-Tommy Lee Jones Jones comedy Hope Springs on Aug. 10.

Skyfall won’t be out until the fall (October in the U.K., November in the U.S.), part of a two-picture deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to release 007 movies. Sony and MGM want to get the Bond films back on an every-other-year schedule. It remains to be seen whether Eon Productions, which actually produces the Bond series, agrees.

007 references at the Oscars (R)

"Who's this Sandler kid?"

The Oscars (R) telecast on ABC early in the proceedings had a montage of clips of popular movies of yesteryear. Austin Powers made the cut while 007 got blanked.

Shortly thereafter, there was a montage of actors talking about the first movie they saw. Adam Sandler said his was Diamonds Are Forever when he was 5. He said something about being impressed by Sean Connery’s performance and his chest hair and that inspired him to become an actor. For some critics, that will be seen as another reason why Bond films aren’t good.

UPDATE: Bond film alumnus John Richardson lost out on a visual effects Oscar. He and three others were nominated for Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The special effects team for Hugo won the award.

UPDATE II: Skyfall screenwriter John Logan, nominated for Hugo, loses out on the adapted screenplay award. The writers for The Descendants win.

UPDATE III: The In Memoriam segment had only one person with any major 007 connection, former studio executive John Calley, who was involved in relaunching the Bond series with 1995’s GoldenEye. Barbara Broccoli, co-boss of Eon Productions, reportedly had issues with Calley. Like him or not, he was a major player at a time some questioned whether the series could be revived after a long hiatus.

Syd Cain, who passed away last year and helped sets on a number of 007 films, wasn’t included. In 2011, major actors such as Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Falk passed away as did Gilbert Cates, a director who also produced a number of Oscar telecasts and who first hired Billy Crystal as host of the Oscars telecast.