Sony watch: studio looks to Skyfall for a lift

Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie, can’t have come soon enough for Sony Corp. and its Sony Pictures unit.

Sony reported a lot of bad numbers this week. The parent company reported its seventh straight quarterly loss (details can be found BY CLICKING HERE to view a Bloomberg News story). It had been expeced by analysts to post a profit. Sony Corp. is now worth less than 10 percent of what it was in 2000.

Sony Pictures had an operating profit, but it was down almost 62 percent, according to the Deadline Web site from a year earlier. The Amazing Spider-Man released in July was a big help, the Total Recall remake released in August was not. Sony Corp. said the movie business is not for sale, according to Deadline. Sony Pictures will release two fewer movies a year starting in 2014, according to the Los Angeles Times.

All of which brings us to Skyfall, which Sony is releasing and co-financed with Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. The Bond movie set a seven-day ticket sales record in the U.K., according to Deadline and has sold about $100 million in tickets in various markets since its Oct. 26 debut. Skyfall reaches U.S. shores Nov. 8 at Imax theaters and goes into general release the next day.

Skyfall by itself won’t cure the ills of Sony and Sony Pictures. It’s just one movie and the studio unit has to share Skyfall’s take with MGM and theater chains. But assuming the positive box office buzz continues, Sony won’t mind at all reporting Skyfall numbers. Sony Pictures also will co-finance Bond 24 and Bond 25.

Sony watch: studio’s second half off to sluggish start

Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures unit appears to have gotten off to a sluggish start at the box office in 2012’s second half.

The Amazing Spider-Man, which came out in the U.S. ahead of the July 4 holiday, has had worldwide ticket sales of $677.7 million, hardly a flop. But with an estimated production budget of $230 million (and with addition outlays for marketing), it won’t be very profitable.

The rule of thumb is a movie has to have ticket sales of three times the production budget to ensure profitability. (Studios split ticket sales with theater chains.) Spidey is near that point.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Sony’s Total Recall only sold an estimated $26 million of tickets in the U.S. and Canada in its debut. It finished well behind The Dark Knight Rises’ third-weekend ticket sales of $36.4 million.

Sony was looking to The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall and Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film which premiers this fall, to boost its box-office fortunes. Skyfall is a joint deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which controls half the 007 franchise.

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.