Sony Pictures Entertainment reported a profit of $ 212 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2020, good for an increase of 316% compared to the similar period in 2019. The profit increase for the three months ended December 31, 2020 was due to lower theatrical marketing costs and higher TV and home entertainment license sales compared to titles a year earlier, Sony Corp said in announcing the Tokyo results today.
Sales of the Images division fell 17% to $ 1.8 billion from the third quarter of last year due to the lack of major theatrical releases due to the Covid-19 crisis and lower sales of home entertainment and television licenses compared to current year’s titles.
The full-year forecast for Sony Pictures rose 50% to 74 billion yen ($ 704 million), impacted by lower theatrical marketing, home entertainment and TV costs than planned. However, sales are expected to be lower than the October outlook, mainly due to delays in theatrical releases as theaters remain closed in key markets.
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There were no significant theatrical releases during the quarter, with the exception of Screen Gems’ Monster hunter which, until December 31, had grossed $ 13 million worldwide. For comparison, the last three months of 2019 included a successful sequel Jumanji: the next level. Sony recently made more changes to its 2021 theatrical release schedule, but still has titles such as Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Hotel Transylvania 4, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home tracking all currently dated this year.
Overall, Sony Corp’s profits increased 20% in local currency to 359.2 billion yen ($ 3.4 billion) and net profits attributable to shareholders were 372 billion yen (3, 54 billion dollars), a jump of 62%. The electronics and entertainment giant raised its outlook for the full year to 940 billion yen ($ 8.95 billion), a 34% increase from its earlier estimates for October sales of game software to be higher than expected.
Anime sales, which fall under the Music segment, also impact the forecast and primarily reflect the contribution of the boom in Japan. Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train. Sony’s Japanese subsidiary, Aniplex, co-produced the film which became the biggest title ever to hit the Japanese box office at over $ 355 million and which still has a worldwide roll-out to come. Sony artist Lisa’s theme song also became “a huge hit,” the company said.
Additionally, for games and network services, the company said it sold 4.5 million PlayStation 5 consoles during the quarter. The division posted a 50% increase in profits to 80.2 billion yen ($ 763 million). Sony has also indicated that it will seek to capitalize on the growth in anime’s worldwide popularity by exploring cross-selling opportunities with games.
In addition, the parent company has confirmed that it will change its name from Sony Corporation to “Sony Group Corporation” as of April 1, 2021. In connection with the change, the ticker symbol of the American Depositary Shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange will change from SNE to SONY.