Sony and Marvel Raking It In This Year

by Paul William Tenny

When negotiations began between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) this year, the WGA accused the AMPTP of selling one story to them, and exactly the opposite story to wallstreet. Claiming to the writers that hardly any TV show or film made a profit, that they should stop receiving residual payments until after the studio has recouped its costs to produce the material in question, then producers would then turn to wallstreet and brag about record earnings and golden prospects for future profit.

The producers denied every having done this, only they're doing it right this very second, with the most recent entrant bragging about its earnings just a day after the writers told the producers to show them the money. On the heels of Viacom announcing that home video sales rose 39% to $457 million, film entertainment was up 57% to $1.3 billion, and overall revenue was up 24% to $3.27 billion.

Now it's Sony and Marvel's turn to cash in on Spider-Man 3, for which the writers of that film will receive less than five cents per DVD sale.

Licensing revenue from toys and games based on the Sony-distribbed "Spider-Man 3" helped triple the comicbook publisher's third-quarter earnings. Net income for the three-month period leapt to $36.3 million from $13.2 million a year ago. Overall sales rose 34% to $123.6 million from $92.2 million. Licensing sales more than doubled to $66 million, with "Spider-Man 3" alone accounting for $24.2 million of that figure as part of a joint venture with Sony.

If this sounds a little too familiar, get used to it, the other big studios and congloms will certainly be bragging about their record earnings to wallstreet soon enough. This summers box office take set a new all-time record at $4.3 billion, but they still can't afford to pay writers, actors, or directors more than four cents each for a single DVD sale, and they are as of today refusing to pay them for digital downloads at all.
in Digital Media, News


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