Sony Pictures records fiscal fourth-quarter profit

Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters
Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Although Sony Corp. reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $1.3 billion on Wednesday, the Tokyo-based company’s film and television studio fared better.

For the three months ending March 31, Sony Pictures Entertainment posted a profit of $402 million, up 112% from a year earlier. Revenue increased 30% to $2.6 billion.

The Culver City studio, which for several months has been trimming overhead in part through layoffs, released the films “The Monuments Men” and “RoboCop” during the quarter.

The George Clooney-starring “Monuments Men” grossed $155 million worldwide, and “RoboCop,” a sci-fi remake, took in $242 million, according to Box Office Mojo.


The fiscal fourth-quarter results do not reflect the performance of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which was released by the studio May 2 and has grossed $553 million worldwide.

Sony also reported a $1.3-billion loss for the fiscal year ending March 31.

The electronics and media giant partly attributed the loss to its troubled consumer electronics arm.

Divisions focused on personal computers, video games and mobile phones all posted annual losses. In February, Sony said that it would sell its PC division.


However, the studio again fared better. It posted operating income of $501 million for the fiscal year, up 8% from a year earlier. Revenue was up 13% to $8 billion. 

The improvements were partly due to the depreciation of the yen against the U.S. dollar. (On a dollar basis, revenue and operating income decreased slightly when compared to the previous fiscal year.) 

Sony said the studio benefited from an expansion in the licensing of television game shows it produces. But it said the studio was hurt by the “underperformance” of two hoped-for blockbusters the company released in 2013: “White House Down” and “After Earth.” The films were among the highest-profile box-office disappointments of last year.

Sony Pictures, which is headed by Chairman Michael Lynton and Co-Chairman Amy Pascal, is in the midst of trimming at least $350 million in overhead as part of a cost-cutting initiative announced in November at an investors conference. The studio has been laying off employees, including 216 people based in Culver City who were let go in March. 

Although Sony has forecast a loss for its current fiscal year, the company has said it expects the studio’s operating income to increase by 26%, with revenue expected to grow by 6%.

Shares of Sony were down 7% in midsession trading on Wednesday to $16.40.

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