Category Archives: Studio Series
It’s been a fun summer, taking a deep dive into each of the major studios, as well as the mid-majors and the biggest and more relevant indie distributors, but it’s probably fitting that we end with the company that is most certainly the biggest disrupter of them all: Amazon.
As 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.
It’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.
Exactly 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.
It’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.
What’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.
A 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.
Fox 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.
In 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.
Things 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.
What 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.
Universal 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.
Similar 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.
Paramount, 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.
The 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.
There 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.
Neil 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.
To 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.
This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.