Tony Vinciquerra, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, says a decision to release Venom: Let There Be Carnage two weeks early shows the film studio “demonstrating our confidence that people will be going to the movies, if the Delta Variant seems to be receding a bit.” He says that was the clear takeaway from Disney’s strong Labor Day weekend release of Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings.
The SPE chief also told a media conference Monday that, “There are probably too many films studios and we may see one or two less over the next five to ten years.”
“But I think the next consolidation will be in the game business” — one that Sony knowns well — he said in a virtual Q&A at the Bank Of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference.
SPE has 10 projects in the works with PlayStation, he said, one of the first being Uncharted, based on a PlayStation game, and nine others in various stages of development.
Leaning into what else its parent can bring, the studio is also working more closely with Sony Music including on the recent Amazon Prime Video release Cinderella with singer Camila Cabello, and Bullet Train with Brad Pitt and Bad Bunny, a a major label talent. The first footage of the film was shown at CinemaCon last month.
Vinciquerra also touched on talent deals — they’ll be restructured to reflect a changed industry and new release patterns; piracy — “It has just blossomed under this distribution system” of day and date; and China – “not a welcoming place for American films right now and that is certainly a big concern.”
He said he likes the position of Sony, which does not have it’s own general entertainment streaming service — as an “arms dealer” selling increasingly valuable content to the highest bidder.
Addressing windows — “There is a higher bar theatrically to get films into theaters so you will probably not see as many films going directly to theaters. [That said] We have about 12 to 15 major films a year distributed to theaters and will do the same going forward.” Sony could make others for sale directly to streamers. “But you wont see our major films go that way.”
“Our primary focus is theatrical distribution.”
He said windows will be shorter, 45 to 60 days, and will depend on each film “and how long it’s in theaters, which depends on how long people go to the theater to watch that particular film.”
Asked about genres, he noted “horror films have been highly successful throughout the pandemic. Not many comedies, but we will see some, and the traditional Marvel product that we and Disney put out there. We’ll have more of that.”
“It has just blossomed under this distribution system,” he said.