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Sony film unit posts wider loss in fiscal second quarter

Sony film unit posts wider loss in fiscal second quarter

Sony Pictures Entertainment studios in Culver City. 

(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Sony Pictures posted an increased loss in its fiscal second quarter due partly to lower revenue from its movies, according to a regulatory filing from the studio’s Tokyo-based parent company. 

Sony Corp. said late Wednesday that its film and television unit had an operating loss of $187 million in the three months ended Sept. 30. That’s an increase from the small, $10-million loss the studio reported for the same period last year. 

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The pictures division generated revenue of $1.53 billion, down 14% from a year ago.

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Partly to blame was a lack of hits to boost home entertainment sales, compared with last year’s "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and “Heaven Is for Real.” Increased marketing costs for new theatrical films also contributed to the bigger loss.

The company also reduced full-year sales and profit forecasts for the studio. 

Movies released by Sony during the quarter included the Adam Sandler action-comedy “Pixels” and the Meryl Streep music-themed film “Ricki and the Flash." The recent animated fillm “Hotel Transylvania 2” is a bona fide hit for the studio, but it was released at the very end of the quarter. 

Sony Corp. Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida told analysts that forecasts for the company’s films “turned out to be a bit optimistic.”  

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Yoshida acknowledged the disappointing results at the studio and noted that Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton hired a new motion pictures chief, Tom Rothman, in the spring.    

“A new management is currently working to improve profitability by balancing creativity with financial discipline,” Yoshida said on a conference call. “However, I do think it will take time for the motion picture business to deliver improved results and because the film business cycle is relatively long." 

Sony Corp.'s overall revenue was little changed in the quarter, at $15.8 billion. The conglomerate posted a profit of $280 million, swinging from a loss a year ago. 

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder


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