Oops. An annual report on its way to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Thursday shows that Oscar-related revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019—that would reflect the host-free Green Book year, when the audience was up a bit—suffered a slight drop.
The decline wasn’t much: Just a half percentage point, to $131.1 million from $131.8 million in the 2018 fiscal year. But it’s an unhappy marker for a group that has taken pride in annual increases—the previous year saw Oscar revenue rise 7.2 percent in the face of a ratings decline—and has been banking on future income to finance its ambitious museum project.
Read the full report here.
Overall, the Academy’s financial picture, as of seven-and-a-half months ago, at any rate, was neither dismal nor rosy. Total assets were up by about 10 percent, to $1.18 billion from $1.07 billion the year before, and net assets—the total, minus liabilities—grew 14 percent, to $756.5 million from $662.1 million in 2018.
But behind those figures were some soft spots. As of mid-2019, proceeds from the Academy’s 2015 bond issue were spent. The remaining $73.1 million in bond proceeds dropped to zero, while total debt stayed even at about $353 million. Much of the increase in assets came from a 45 percent rise in the value of property, equipment and building improvements—mostly the museum, now set to open on December 14—to $461.3 million from 318.1 million in 2018. More, the year’s $94.4 million increase in net assets was actually about 21 percent lower than the $119.2 million increase in 2018.
Total revenue rose 10.3 percent, to $178.5 million from $161.9 million a year earlier. That was boosted by investment income—saved by the market!—which rose by half, to $23.4 million from $15.6 million in 2018. Member dues, though rising, still made a relatively small contribution: $3.6 million in 2019, up from $2.9 million a year earlier.
And some things remained more or less the same. Awards-related expenses were $41.4 million, up marginally from $41.2 million in 2018, the second Jimmy Kimmel year. Likewise, a previously reported bond payment of $132.2 million still comes due at the end of this year, as a maturity date hits in November.
A footnote in the 2019 report explains that the Academy, in addition to any Oscar-related royalties or bonuses, expects in the coming years to collect “minimum performance obligations” that rise around 3 or 4 percent each year, from $115.5 million in 2020, to $120 million in 2021, to $124.1 million in 2022, and so on. Barring any unforeseen renegotiation, this seems to be the bedrock on which any future borrowing—and that option has been under discussion–must stand.