Saturday, January 02, 2016

Mostest With the Fewest

A bit of clear-eyed analysis regarding which of our fine conglomerates made the most money with the fewest ... and least expensive ... movie releases.

... Universal, Disney, and Fox are not being sold.

Sony, Paramount, and WB could change hands at any time.

And amazingly, none of this has anything to do with last year’s box office.

Disney released just 11 movies in 2015. Four of them had production budgets of $40 million or under. Their entire take, worldwide-to-date (with not too much more on the horizon) was $215 million.

Disney released two movies with budgets between $100-$150 million. They grossed a solid $1.1 billion against costs (production and p&a) of somewhere around $550 million, making them profitable in post-theatrical revenue streams.

Disney releases five movies with budgets starting at $200 million and likely rising to just over $300 million. Even with an investment in those five titles of about $2 billion, the studio will do well with theatrical revenues of $4 billion to date, with at least another $1.25 billion on the way. ...

The only other company to do $3 billion on new movies in 2015 was Fox. (if you were thinking WB, you were wrong by $350 million or so.)

Fox did it with no mega-movies. The highest grosser of their year was The Martian, which should pass $600 million worldwide shortly. But four other $300m+ titles (Kingsman, Home, Taken, and Maze Runner 2), the three live-actions films each under $85m each and the animated film on an output deal with DWA. ...

Sony made a little less ($2.4b) than Warner Bros ($2.6b) in worldwide gross. But Sony has only 16 releases, while Warner Bros. had 25. So marketing costs for the nine extra titles alone makes up for the difference. ...

What leaps out here is how thin the line is between victory and disaster. Sony made a big chunk of its money on James Bond and Hotel Transylvania 2, even as Disney had Inside Out and Universal had Minions.

Animation wasn't the only driver in various entertainment conglomerates' successes, but cartoons sure as hell played a role.

Add On: On the other side of the not-so-shiny coin, there are the mega-budgeted flops, recounted by the Boston Globe:

... Superhero movies are usually a sure thing, but studios may think twice before unleashing just any old comic onto the big screen after the failure of this Fantastic Four reboot. There’s bad and then there’s bad — as in when the director of a movie takes to social media to warn people about how awful it’s going to be. ...

Ahead of its release, the Peter Pan origin story Pan got the most buzz for its casting of white actress Rooney Mara in the role of Native American princess Tiger Lily, but that was hardly the only reason the movie brought in only $15 million its opening weekend — a tenth of its production budget.

The biggest issue may have been that it didn’t really look like a children’s movie. Only 23 percent of the audience that went to see it in the theater was under 18. ...

When you're hot you're Star Wars Episode VII. When you're not, you're a $160 million movie that has an opening weekend under $19 million.


Site Meter