Sony Pictures CEO Confirms Increase in Director Interest After Warner Bros. HBO Max Push
Tony Vinciquerra, Sony Pictures chairman and CEO, said the studio is experiencing a “boom” in interest from filmmakers looking to partner with the company as theatrical releases take precedence over streaming. Sony saw a significant surge in interest following the controversial decision by Warner Bros. to switch its film template to a hybrid release model for 2021, which sees movies open in theaters from 31 days and streamed on HBO Max. Warner Bros.'s HBO Max postponement had sparked outrage in the industry, including criticism from Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve.
"It was a bit of a boom for us after the Warner Bros announcement because it made dating our films a little easier for the next year," Vinciquerra said during an interview with CNBC this week (via The Verge). “The real benefit, however, was the number of calls we received from talent, creators, actors and directors saying, 'We want to do business with you because we know you are a distributor and producer. 'That worked very well for us. "
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Vinciquerra's claim that Sony is seeing increased filmmaking interest following the announcement by Warner Bros., HBO Max, supports several predictions made by Patty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman 1984, to the press in the past few days. As Jenkins told the New York Times, the studio dedicated to theatrical releases will attract the greatest interest of the best filmmakers.
"I'm telling you, some studios are going to go back to the traditional model and are going to create huge upheaval in the industry because every great filmmaker is going to work there," Jenkins said. "And the studios that make this radical change [moving their theatrical releases to a streaming service], especially without consulting the artists, will end up with a very empty list of high-quality filmmakers working there."
While Sony is open to selling films to streamers (see Tom Hanks' "Greyhound," who moved to Apple from Sony earlier this year and is valued at $ 70 million), Vinciquerra said the company has no plans to start publishing films. Date in theaters and on streaming platforms such as Warner Bros.'s new strategy, Sony is committed to theatrical release and is now only focused on talking about movie windows.
"We're not changing course much," said Vinciquerra. "We believe that windows are becoming much more flexible, and we're grateful for that. We think that's good for the industry and good for our films. Some films will do better with a short window, others with a much longer window."
Universal Pictures was at the forefront of changes in the cinema window this year. Last month, the studio announced that it had signed an agreement with Cinemark and AMC Theaters to discontinue cinema windows based on opening weekend revenues. Universal films that make over $ 50 million on their opening weekends have at least a 31-day theatrical window, while films that make less than $ 50 million can have a 17-day theatrical window. With this universal release plan, big budget tent poles will be kept longer in theaters, which Sony intends to keep doing.
"Big budget films require the windows that are in flux now, and we're going to keep doing that," said Vinciquerra. “Every film published is negotiated individually with the exhibitors. We think 30 day windows are probably the best. "
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