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‘Spider-Man’ timing hits Sony Pictures’ bottom line

The release of “The Amazing Spider-Man” overseas in late June and domestically in early July pushed Sony Pictures to an operating loss during the second quarter.

Revenue for the Culver City studio increased 6% to $1.9 billion thanks in part to the box office performance of “Men in Black 3,” which has grossed $619 million worldwide (although given its hefty budget of nearly $250 million and participants like Will Smith and Steven Spielberg taking a share of revenue, it’s not clear how big a profit Sony will make on the picture).

Also contributing to Sony’s top line were more programming revenue from its television production unit.

However, Sony Pictures reported an operating loss of $62 million in the three months ended June 30, down from operating income of $55 million in the same period a year ago.

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The biggest reason, Sony Corp. said in reporting its financial results, was the cost of releasing its big budget super-hero film “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which hit theaters in the U.S. on July 3 and in some foreign countries at the end of June.

As a result of that timing, Sony had to spend most of its marketing budget for the movie during the second quarter, but won’t start collecting any revenue until the current quarter. Summer tent-pole films like “The Amazing Spider-Man” often cost about $150 million to release worldwide.

On the flip side, Sony should start to see a bounty from its “Spider-Man” reboot in the third quarter as it benefits from the $657 million that the movie has grossed so far around the world.

And while it cost almost as much to make as “Men in Black 3" -- about $230 million -- “Spider-Man” does not have as many big name stars taking a share of the profits.

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