2014’s Studio profitability report

Source: THR

The domestic box-office fell 5.2% and DVD sales dropped 11% in 2014. By those numbers alone one might have thought it was probably a tough year for the major Studios but the 2014 profit report is out and it shows that they did surprisingly well. Tentpole franchises, unexpected mid-range budget unexpected hits, SVOD sales to players like Netflix, cost control and TV hits all helped ease the blow and keep Studios in a good place. Below, how each Studio ranks and the key factors that contributed to their results.

1) WALT DISNEY: $1.7 billion

Disney has the golden touch, we all know that. But in 2014 they reaped big rewards for the mega-hit ‘Fronzen’, placing Disney at number one for the first time in 5 years, a place that was owned by Warner Bros ever since the report started coming out.  Disney also has a big upper hand in home video since most of it’s audience is younger and kids are the biggest home video customers. 2015 will liked keep the good fortune going with a seventh ‘Star Wars’ film and two Pixar titles scheduled to come out.

2) 21ST CENTURY FOX: $1.5 billion

2014 was the best year for Fox since 2010. ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’, the exquisite ‘Gone Girl’, ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ and ‘Rio 2’ are the main hits responsible for this result. Fox’s strategy has been a bit different than the other Studios since they’re betting on a more diverse slate and some great mid-range budget hits like ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. (We, the audience, are very thankful for that, Fox). On the TV side, Variety reports that the syndication of ‘Modern Family’, a new season of ’24’ and SVOD revenue from the sale of ‘The Americans’ to Amazon helped temper the loss of the big hit ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

3) WARNER BROS: $1.3 billion

Falling from 1st place to 3rd is largely due to restructuring costs and a wave of flops like ‘Transcendence’.  Big hits helped ease the losses, especially new TV shows ‘Gotham’ and ‘The Flash’ and  ‘The Lego Movie’, ‘Godzilla’ and the final ‘Hobbit’ on theaters. To come, are multiple DC movies (yes, more superheroes), at least 3 more Lego movies and ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies from J.K. Rowling.

4th, 5th and 6th place were taken, respectively, by NBCUniversal, Sony and Paramount.

Who do you think will have the best year in 2015?

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Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ opens to an impressive Global debut and confirms lucrative Fairytale trend

Women prove yet again that they can drive box-offices – ‘Cinderella’ was this past weekend’s box-office lead as it outperformed it’s already high expectations and grossed $70.1 million domestically and a massive $132 million globally – $25 million of which in China alone.

The opening weekend audience were 68% female, 66% families and 31% under the age of 12. The movie, that cost $95 million to produce, is well on its way to being highly profitable since it still has yet to open in many major international markets. This is a particularly impressive victory given that the movie wasn’t led by a big start, to the level of Disney’s past fairytale adaptations names like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and wasn’t available in 3D.

The movie’s success comes to confirm Disney’s Fairytale strategy where the giant has been investing in live-action blockbuster adaptations of classic tales as we’ve seen before with ‘Maleficent’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  Also already announced for the near future are ‘Dumbo’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ adaptations.

Could Princesses be the new Superheroes? The female audience is largely discredited as to it’s box-office power but the landscape might be changing. It’s particularly interesting to note that both ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Thor’ were directed by Kenneth Branagh and the Disney Princess has outperformed the Marvel Superhero in it’s opening weekend.

The Wrap recently did an interesting article regarding the two distinct tentpole trends. In their experts opinion, the Princesses won’t beat the Superheroes anytime soon. Their main argument is that Superheroes have the advantage from coming from a serialized source material that lends itself to new adaptations whereas fairytales are singular antiquities that would make sequels feel inorganic.

Also listed as reasons is the wider, four-quadrant gender appeal of the Superhero fare – men and women, above and below 25 – versus the female dominated audiences of the Princesses and some other, more arguable reasons as fairytales being constricted by accuracy to the originals and lack of dialogue currency.

The issue’s development remains to be seen but, so far,  as long as there’s fairytales to be adapted Disney will continue to make bank on them.

Do you think the Superhero fare is getting old and something new is coming along? Let us know in the comment section.