Sony Pictures saw an 18% drop in second quarter profits to $299M from July-September versus the same period in 2019. However, the figures rep an increase on the first quarter’s $230M which ended June 30 this year. Revenues across the division were off by $615M compared to last year while theatrical sales dropped to $13M versus $715M in Q2 2019, clearly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
A key portion of the domestic market is still closed while there are lingering restrictions on cinemas and the threat of renewed lockdowns in Europe. In 2019, Sony’s Q2 earnings were largely attributable to the summer success of Marvel sequel Spider-Man: Far From Home and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
In this year’s Q2, Sony had just The Broken Hearts Gallery and The Last Shift in domestic theaters. It did however have an overseas hit with Spanish title Padre No Hay Mas Que Uno 2 which has made nearly $12M since late July.
Upcoming films expected to release theatrically through the end of the year include Yellow Rose, The Kid Detective, The Last Vermeer and Monster Hunter. The latter has a good shot at doing strong business in China, but a date has not yet been set. A host of major Sony titles is currently set throughout 2021.
Also in the Pictures division, there were lower revenues from fewer deliveries of TV shows due to production shutdowns resulting from the impact of COVID-19, but higher television licensing and home entertainment revenues. The annual forecast for the Pictures segment increased slightly to 48B yen ($461M).
The earnings announcement comes a day after Sony Pictures said it was merging theatrical, home entertainment and TV distribution marketing operations which will result in some layoffs.
Overall in its earnings announcement today, Sony Corp raised its full-year profit forecast from 620B ($5.95B) yen to 700B yen ($6.7B), as it reported a 14% increase in profits to 317.8B yen ($3B) for the quarter. This was aided by the games division where profits were up 40% versus last year’s equivalent period to 105B yen ($1B) thanks to strong demand during lockdown. That segment is now forecast at 300B yen ($2.9B) for the year as PlayStation 5 is due to launch next month.
Although Sony execs wouldn’t be led on figures, a boost is also expected to come from the recent blockbuster release of Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train which was produced by Aniplex, a Sony Music Entertainment company. The anime adaptation has been breaking records in Japan and last weekend became the fastest movie ever to cross $100M in the market. Tie-ins and games are also being developed based on the original Demon Slayer series as Sony looks to make anime a new growth engine.