Every couple of months film and business trades run speculative interviews with analysts or “activist investors” claiming that Sony Pictures is poised for a big sale to places like Apple, Amazon, or Netflix. None of this is anything but opinion dressed-up as an editorial/interview, instead of based on concrete information or reporting. It usually comes after a shift in the industry like the Walt Disney Company acquiring 21st Century Fox or when telecoms company AT&T got their hands on a media giant like Time-Warner.
After the WarnerMedia-Discovery and Amazon-MGM deals being announced this month, it seems like we should prepare for another run of wild claims and speculation that Sony Pictures is next to be sold-off.
However, that doesn’t seem to be case, according to the person that actually runs the company. There is now a real statement coming from Sony CEO Yoshida Kenichiro while speaking with the Financial Times (via The Hollywood Reporter), Kenichiro says that while they’re open to partner with streaming services they’re not going to sell the film division.
KENICHIRO: “There is drastic realignment in the media industry, but I think our strategy of creating content as an independent studio while working with various partners will work.”
It’s worth mentioning that Sony did strike deals with Netflix and Disney recently, but that has to do with post-theatrical window streaming rights of feature films and they’ve been working towards a television deal with Amazon that includes the Spider-Man spinoff series Silk. These deals will expand their presence in the streaming space, far from an actual acquisition. One of the big reasons for moves like this is that Sony doesn’t have their own streaming service, so, licensing their content to multiple suitors isn’t that surprising as the media landscape changes.
The Hollywood Reporter also added a comment from Sony Pictures Entertainment chief Tony Vinciquerra from the investor day presentation, where he sounded confident that the shows and films in development based on the PlayStation IP will continue the momentum as they have at least ten projects in the pipeline. Those PlayStation projects include Tom Holland’s Uncharted film, an HBO series based on The Last of Us, and a Ghost of Tsushima movie from John Wick franchise director Chad Stahelski.
VINCIQUERRA: “The PlayStation project has tremendous momentum with the establishment of PlayStation productions and ten projects already in development.”
They also have a string of their own Marvel films such as J.C. Chandor’s Kraven The Hunter, Olivia Wilde’s Spider-Woman, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Jared Leto’s vampire flick Morbius. Sony Japan was behind the pressure on the film division to make a deal with Marvel Studios/Disney that led to Tom Holland appearing as Spider-Man in solo films made by Marvel and appearing in their other films as well.
Having a corner of the Marvel Comics rights and developing multiple projects based on their popular PlayStation video game franchises could keep them competitive for the foreseeable future. Franchises like Bad Boys and Jumanji seem to be audience draws the studio can rely on beyond Spider-Man projects.
SOURCE: THE FINANCIAL TIMES