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Stronger movies not enough for Sony Pictures

November 01, 2012|By Ben Fritz
  • "The Amazing Spider-Man" was Sony Pictures' biggest hit in a 2012 summer with more big-budget tent poles than 2011.
"The Amazing Spider-Man" was Sony Pictures' biggest… (Jaime Trueblood )

More summer tent-pole movies boosted Sony Pictures' results in the quarter ended Sept. 30, but the studio still suffered in comparison to the same period last year.

This year's summer was full of costly event movies, though the results were mixed, with "The Amazing Spider-Man" a hit, "Total Recall" a flop, and "Men in Black 3" a modest disappointment. However, more big movies resulted in higher theatrical revenue.

Summer 2011 was a light one for Culver City-based Sony, with a successful big-screen version of "The Smurfs" its only relatively big-budget tent pole.

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Despite the bigger movies and higher revenue, the studio's total revenue and operating income declined 4% and 62%, respectively, to $2.1 billion and $101 million.  Last year's numbers were higher because Sony sold its interest in Spider-Man merchandising rights to Walt Disney Co. for $278 million.

The news comes as Sony Pictures has recently decided to make two fewer movies per year and cut back on development spending by nearly 10%, as well as make other changes to its motion-picture business, in a bid to grow profits in a difficult economic environment.

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