Category Archives: Studio Series

Annual Reviews of each studio’s current and upcoming slates, as well as box office analysis and comparisons.

Bleecker Street Looks to Succeed Where Other Indie Distributors Failed

bleecker street excerptAs we march inexorably toward both the end of the Studio Series, we come to one of the most interesting entries of the entire enterprise. Bleecker Street is a new and exciting operation in the indie world that has designs on much bigger and more impressive prey, and ultimately succeeding where Broad Green recently failed.

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Annapurna and Studio 8 Are Just Getting Started, But Can They Make It?

annapurna excerptIt’s one thing to take an existing company and examine its ups and downs based on a concrete history. It’s a whole other kettle of fish to utilize the same set of standards and apply them to a pair of companies that have no real track record at all, but which have declared themselves as major players in the arena moving forward.

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The Weinstein Company’s Struggles Continue, But Is There a Way Out?

the weinstein coExactly a year ago, when we took a look at The Weinstein Company during this Studio Series, we talked about the fact that the company was in the midst of a terrible year, and was strapped for cash. Three hundred and sixty-five days later, little has changed.

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Focus Features Still Suffering Growing Pains at 15 (Studio Series)

atomic blondeIt’s tough to have one’s cake and eat it, too, but Focus is certainly trying. If you doubt it, look at the success of 2016 and, though the first seven months of 2017 have been the company’s worst since 2010, the list of upcoming releases is as impressive as anyone’s. In the 15 years since its creation, Focus it is responsible for some of the very best examples of what independent film is and can be.

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Open Road’s Interesting Strategy Needs to Start Working Better — Now (Studio Series)

Open Road ExcerptWhat’s interesting about Open Road’s history is how much of an outlier a film like Spotlight was, and whether or not anything like it will come from them again anytime soon. Regardless, what is very evident is that the soft grosses of the last couple years can’t persist for too much longer, or else we could see Open Road fall to the second division of indie distributors.

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Roadside Has Become More than Just Another Indie Attraction (Studio Series)

Roadside Attractions ExcerptA big part of success is finding the right plan and sticking with it to fruition. If we judge Roadside by that measure, and by the quality of the projects they put on screens, then we also have to acknowledge that Roadside Attractions is one of the better examples out there of just what an independent film distributor should be.

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Fox Searchlight Needs a Hit, But Luckily, There Might Be a Few On the Way (Studio Series)

fox searchlight excerptFox Searchlight is not in any trouble, but they need to make sure their miserable 2016 doesn’t become a habit. However, both the company’s history and its upcoming slate suggests the future is far more promising than the past.

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A24’s Rise to the Top of the Film World Has Been Fast and Furious (Studio Series)

A24 ExcerptIn the world of independent film, and the distributors involved, having a definitive identity is a major part of the battle. It’s a battle that, for now, A24 appears to be winning.

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STX Looks Like It’s Not Doing So Well, Until You Look Closer (Studio Series)

STX ExcerptThings aren’t perfect at STX, far from it. But considering how long it’s been around, and how far it’s come in that time, things could be a whole heck of a lot worse, with a future that doesn’t look anywhere near as bright as STX’s does.

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Lionsgate Does Something Nobody Else Does, Which Is a Good Thing (Studio Series)

Lionsgate ExcerptWhat to make of an outfit like Lionsgate? The company has established itself very firmly as the maker of mid-level films that the studios don’t often make anymore, as well as genre fare and, now and again, the kind of franchises that lead to huge international box office, but it still can’t be lumped in with the Big Six.

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It’s Summer Time, and, for Universal, the Livin’ Is Easy (Studio Series)

universal-studios-excerptUniversal is chock full of the successful partnerships and franchises so key to success in today’s marketplace that it’s continually vying for the top spot alongside current Hollywood powerhouse Disney. Could it dethrone the Mouse House this year? Not likely, but it’s still set up for a tremendous year nonetheless.

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Sony’s Film Division Isn’t What It Was — Well, Most of It Isn’t (Studio Series)

Sony ExcerptSimilar to Paramount, Sony hasn’t had the easiest go of things lately and they need to find something major to turn the ship around. Spider-Man: Homecoming will be a good-sized win for the studio but while their film division — made up of Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Screen Gems — isn’t going anywhere, it needs to become a more productive part of the company.

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Paramount Is Certainly Down, But Is It Ever Really Out? (Studio Series)

Paramount ExcerptParamount, CEO Jim Gianopulos, and the team are currently facing a challenge to take a once great institution that has fallen on hard times and return it to its past glory. Perhaps the best way to do this will be to find the Next Big Thing, according to Neil Turitz.

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Superheroes Continue to Save Fox, Allowing Them to Balance Their Content (Studio Series)

DeadpoolThe Studio Series turns to Fox this week to see how its success with the X-Men franchise, beginning in 2000 with Bryan Singer’s initial X-Men film, has allowed the studio to try its hand at other types of fare.

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Strange Things Are Afoot at the WB (Studio Series)

Warner bros ExcerptThere was a time, not so long ago, when Warner Bros. was the model studio in town. They had great filmmakers making excellent movies that earned a lot of money and set box office records and produced some of the most beloved films and television shows ever created. Oh, how the people toiling under the iconic water tower long for those halcyon days of yore.

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Disney Continues to Reign Over Hollywood and Shows No Signs of Stopping (Studio Series)

Disney LogoNeil Turitz brings back last year’s Studio Series for the summer of 2017 to look at the film industry, studios, indies, and any in between. And where better to launch the series than with the biggest and most successful studio in Hollywood? Disney.

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STX Entertainment and Studio 8 Try to Stay Ahead of the Curve (Studio Series)

billy excerptTo break into the film distribution business on the higher budget side seems like a fools errand. But if you’re Robert Simonds and Adam Fogelson at STX Entertainment, and Jeff Robinov at Studio 8, then you’re not thinking in exactly those terms. On the contrary, you’re thinking you can take on the system and win.

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The Ballad of A24, Open Road, and Roadside Attractions: A Trio on the Rise (Studio Series)

roadside attractions excerptThis week, we’re going to take a look at three of the more successful smaller distributors, Roadside Attractions, A24, and Open Road, the latter two of which won the top prizes for feature films at this year’s Oscars, Best Documentary Feature and Best Picture, respectively.

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Every Good Streak Has To End Some Time, Even For Fox Searchlight (Studio Series)

fox searchlight excerpt

Winning a Best Picture trophy doesn’t happen very often. Even rarer is winning two in a row, and yet that’s what Fox Searchlight just did in 2014 and 2015 with 12 Years a Slave and Birdman. Consider, also, that the company has either released a Best Picture nominee or a film that won another major Oscar each year since 2006, and in several years, it has done both. That’s a nice run, but it might very well end in 2016.

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Netflix And Amazon Continue To Redefine What It Means To Be A Studio (Studio Series)

netflix amazon excerpt

For the past couple months, we’ve been meeting here once a week to take a look at each of the major studios, with concrete box office numbers that tell a story. With today’s installment, it’s going to be a little different, out of necessity, because we’re discussing Netflix and Amazon Studios.

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The Weinstein Company May Be Down – But Does Anyone Count Bob And Harvey Out? (Studio Series)

TWC excerpt

In 2016, The Weinstein Company has grossed $54.8 million domestically, but almost $50 million of that came from The Hateful Eight and Carol, which means that the four movies released by the company thus far this year have combined for under $5 million domestically. Yes, things may be down at TWC, but no one in Hollywood dares to bet against Bob and Harvey.

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Why It’s Not a Bad Time To Be Focus Features (Studio Series)

focus features excerpt

If there is an ideal situation for a film company to inhabit, it would probably be some sort of self-sufficiency combined with the infrastructure of a larger operation. Basically, the exact situation Focus Features has.

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Things Are Tough All Over, Especially At Paramount (Studio Series)

ParamountGate

While Star Trek Beyond could do very well this weekend, last summer the Paramount executives would have scoffed at the idea that the studio’s highest grossing film of 2016 thus far would be a Will Ferrell comedy released on Christmas Day. Of the previous year.

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Could There Still Be A Rainbow At The End Of Sony Pictures’ Recent Rough Road? (Studio Series)

sony pictures excerpt

To say that Sony’s film division has had a bit of a tough go lately might be an understatement. The email hack, the terrorist threat against The Interview, and a failure to clear the billion dollar mark in domestic grosses in 2015. But look a little closer, and it’s not necessarily as dire as it might appear.

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Is Lionsgate Finally Starting To Grow Up? (Studio Series)

cafe society

When you’re a smaller studio without the resources of one of the Big Six your attitude and strategy has to be a bit different from the norm. And since Lionsgate is now in the crosshairs, it’s time to talk about that strategy, as well as what happens when it doesn’t work out so well.

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Can Warner Bros. Overcome “Batman v Superman” And Finish Strong In 2016? (Studio Series)

batman-v-superman-trinity_cropped Despite the relative failure of Batman v Superman, do not yet abandon hope, all ye who enter. The calendar still holds some possibility that 2016 won’t be a total disaster.

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Can Twentieth Century Fox Pull Off A Resurgence In 2016? (Studio Series)

ind day excerpt

Twentieth has had an interesting year so far, with highs like Deadpool, not-so-highs like X-Men: Apocalypse, and the announcement that Stacey Snider will be taking over the reins at the studio. With nearly a dozen movies left on the schedule, including this week’s Independence Day sequel, can Fox still pull off a resurgence in 2016?

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Disney Is Shattering Records Thanks To Marvel, Lucasfilm, And Pixar – Can The Winning Streak Continue? (Studio Series)

force awakens excerpt

Disney is primed to obliterate every record out there (it already beat the one for fastest to $1B, which it did in just 128 days), and even with a change in leadership in the offing, there are plenty of reasons to think that upward trend will continue apace for some time. This is part two of our weekly series analyzing the current state of the studios.

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Universal Is Not Having The Greatest Year – Can The Studio Still Turn Things Around? (Studio Series)

warcraft movie excerpt

Why was the first half of last year so much better than this year for Universal? That’s easy: this year doesn’t have the ferocious combination of Furious 7, Fifty Shades of Grey and Pitch Perfect 2. This is part one of our weekly series analyzing the current state of the studios.

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