Sony Pictures Having Its Best Box Office Year Ever... Still Blaming Piracy For Killing The Business

from the something-doesn't-seem-right-here dept

Sony Pictures' CEO is Michael Lynton, the guy who recently claimed that "nothing good" has come from the internet, and that piracy is killing the movie business. He made that statement less than a month ago. And yet, as Dave Title points out, Sony Pictures just announced that its international box office results have already set a new record for the year, hitting $1.63 billion. The company is bragging about this new record -- as it should. But it does seem a bit disingenuous to brag about revenue records just weeks after claiming that piracy was destroying your business and asking for government help to protect the business model. Someone might notice that these two things do not seem to agree.


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  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Please

    When are we going to be done with this guy? He's an absolute jackass, and performs the worst type of double-speak. He followed his "Nothing good has come out of the interent" remark with this gem:

    "my concern about piracy does not obscure my understanding that the Internet has had a transformative impact on our culture and holds enormous potential to improve the prospects of humanity, and in many instances already has.”

    What a loon. Maybe this guy forgot, but he was the head of AOL International, for Christ's sake. Then he's got the balls to go on the Huffington Post of all places, to talk about the "theft" of Xmen downloads?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-lynton/guardrails-for-the-intern_b_207459.html

    Then he has the stones to say that the Michael Jackson: This Is It simultaneous worldwide release was done because of piracy, as opposed to cashing in on the fervor surrounding the Gloved One's death?

    http://www.minyanville.com/articles/mtv-sony-fox-viacom-google-michael-jackson-piracy-tick ets-sales-movies-films-television-DVD-VCR-columbia-bittorrent/index/a/25163

    What a tool. Can't we send this guy back to Belgium or wherever he's from?

     

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  2.  
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    Hulser (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:07am

    Presented with this confrontation, their reply would surely be that they would have made even *more* money if not for piracy. Then, to deflect any accusation of greed, they'd say that the regular behind-the-scenes people were suffering because of this lost revenue, not the bigwigs. (See that recent 60 Minutes fluff piece on movie piracy.) But wait, wouldn't this just prove that these record-breaking profits are staying at the top and not trickling down to the behind-the-scenes people?

    It just seems sometimes that the movie industry's strategy (and the defences of their strategies) have only one level of complexity. As soon as you ask a single follow-up question or combine two statements together, things fall apart. I'd pay to see a live debate with Mike and some representative from the RIAA or MPAA so I could see their paper-thin arguments get torn to shreds.

     

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  3.  
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    Kevin (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:12am

    Well

    The argument they will use next is that they could have made even MORE money without all of the piracy.

     

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  4.  
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    Matthew Cruse (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    Now that's a RTB+CwF experiment I could get behind! What do you say, if a certain level of payment is reached ($10,000?) then a live webcast debate with interested parties could be broadcast? Sounds like a great idea to me-very similar to the "fans pay to produce next album" method that some artists are using (Jill Sobule I think)

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    But they could have made ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS without piracy!

     

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  6.  
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    Jon Renaut (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re:

    I'm in. Though I'd rather see it happen on tv first - too many people who would watch a webcast already know Lynton is full of it.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    RD, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Scapegoat

    Thats because "piracy" figures are GREATLY OVERBLOWN. The amount of people who "pirate" compared to the people who dont is VERY VERY SMALL. These industries see "piracy" as a convenient scapegoat, for DECADES now (from reel-to-reel, then cassette, then computer floppies, etc) when the real truth is, VERY FEW PEOPLE COPY STUFF. Most dont know about it, or care, or have the time or knowledge to do it. These alarmist tales of the MAJORITY of people "pirating" is flat-out self-serving bullshit. They want the big fear-factor out there so they can pass legislation instead of doing any kind of innovation, improvement, or hard work.

    Dark Knight was on file sharing networks and it made more money than just about any other movie in history. Wolverine was out BEFORE it hit theaters, and it made over $200 million. "Piracy" isnt the problem, bad management, bad movies, and bad decisions on the part those who run the business is.

     

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  8.  
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    Michael, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    But...

    ...if they had been able to make more $200 million movies, that number would be a lot bigger.

     

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  9.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:57am

    What a crock .....

     

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  10.  
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    Derek Reed (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    I'm not convinced that Mike could hold his own in a live debate. Now Jon Stewart? There's a master debater.

    Also, I don't think $10,000 or any reasonable amount of money is going to sway an industry lawyer into a mousetrap. All that said, still would be nice to see more articles done interview style and perhaps with some naysayers once in a while.

     

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  11.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    Re: What a crock .....

    wont = wouldn't

     

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  12.  
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    Derek Reed (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    Re: What a crock .....

    ... and if people downloaded it they probably wont have gone to see it, thats the way it works with movies that really suck ...

    Maybe that's part of what they're really afraid of with this whole internet and piracy thing. The negative word of mouth and stigma happens with bad movies more-so now than before the internet. It'd sure be nice to just have to convince a couple of movie critics the movie is good instead of having to convince a massive swarm of people watching the whole thing.

    Sucks having to make a good movie instead of just a 200 million dollar one, don't it?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Phillip Woon, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    What Piracy?

    There is no piracy in America. Only China has piracy.. Or so I was lead to believe

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    SonyRootkit, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:19am

    lest ye not forget

    this form the same guy that with intent and malice installed a virus and trjan aka a rootkit onto there payoing customers who were doing everythign they asked. GOT sued like everywhere for it and lost.

    YEA SONY ROOTKIT if not for hackers and there toys you'd not a been able to scam your own customers Eh?

    -chronoss
    Chair
    United hackers assoication

     

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  15.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re: What Piracy?

    I thought 70% of all piracy comes from Canada and 60% comes from New York.

     

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  16.  
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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:24am

    Re: Please

    Here here.

    I think what is often ignored (not on TechDirt, of course) is that it's probably the *very existence* of the Internet and file sharing that is responsible for their huge successes of late.

    To take advantage of a massive, free advertising mechanism, and then simultaneously decry its modus operandi is the height of misanthropic irony.

    ...otherwise known as standard corporate behavior.

    CBMHB

     

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  17.  
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    Overcast (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    I think what is often ignored (not on TechDirt, of course) is that it's probably the *very existence* of the Internet and file sharing that is responsible for their huge successes of late.

    Yep, like Radio - which is 'free' music broadcast did more to pump up music sales than *anything* else in history..

    It just makes sense.

     

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  18.  
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    Corn Grower, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Dear Pirates

    Please, do not take away my profits from popcorn sales.

    Sincerely, Corn Grower

     

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  19.  
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    Jason, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    Why stop at that. They could have made ONE TRILLION DOLLARS if they could just reach into our wallets and take out as much money as they want.

    This is getting ridiculous. Unemployment is over 10% and these asses are having a record year and as everyone noted above will soon be complaining that they should have MORE money. The "content" industry has no shame. They continuously show the very worst of humanity.

     

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  20.  
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    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Dear Pirates

    Screw you and your popcorn. What about my chocolate sales? I own the tree that produces chocolate for over 80% of all movie theater candy (it's a very big tree). The biggest threat to my way of life is piracy, closely followed by people who go to Daiquiris To Go to pick up their own refreshments before coming into the theater.

     

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  21.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Dear Pirates

    "closely followed by people who go to Daiquiris To Go to pick up their own refreshments before coming into the theater."

    Those people make me laugh. Is it only us Irishmen that are familiar with the two wonderful inventions known as the flask and Jameson sipping whiskey?

     

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  22.  
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    Dementia (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Pirates

    No DH, most of us over the age of 18 know about the flask, of course, our choice of content may be a little different, some of us prefer rum.

     

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  23.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Pirates

    "No DH, most of us over the age of 18 know about the flask, of course, our choice of content may be a little different, some of us prefer rum."

    In support of those thieving, stealing, puppy-kicking, grandmother punching, heroin injecting, raporists....I'll fill it up with rum next time.

    Oh, and I'll also become an effminate sociopath, Depp-style...

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    Yep, like Radio - which is 'free' music broadcast did more to pump up music sales than *anything* else in history..

    Correlation does not imply what? What doesn't it imply again? Anyone?

     

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  25.  
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    Freedom is Freeloading, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Well

    The argument they will use next is that they could have made even MORE money without all of the piracy.

    And how is this argument invalid? Who are you to say how much a company or an industry should make? At what point should a company allow freeloaders to swoop in, unopposed? By the way, who died and made you the arbiter of wealth?

    You can't spell "Robin Hood" without "rob"!

    YUK YUK!

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    catullusrl, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Clueless Masnick

    This article illustrates just how clueless Masnick is about the film industry. The Hollywood studios make most of their money from the home entertainment market (ie DVDs, licensing to TV and cable), not the cinema box office. They also have to give part of the box office to the owners of the cinema. It is quite possible for the box office figures to rise yet the studios struggle if the home entertainment market collapses due to rampant piracy.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2118819/

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Clueless Masnick

    Awwww - I am so sad ...
    those poor poor folks
    I bet they have to go to the soup kitchen to get anything to eat

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Clueless Masnick

    "I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." - The Greatest Shill of All Time

    They should try and innovate instead of bitching about every little thing that they assume will lead to their demise.

    And so what if Hollywood goes under?

    THEN NOTHING WILL EVER BE CREATED AGAIN!!! THEN YOU'LL ALL BE SO SORRY!!!

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Well

    Actually, the public is ultimately the arbiter of wealth. Remember, the public? If they feel like an industry is ripping them off they can get their elected officials to break that industry up.

    Remember? The public? Or don't they count?

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re:

    No correlation. Free music broadcast through the radio really did cause an increase in music sales.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Clueless Masnick

    Actually I imagine that movies will probably become a thing of the past. Kind of like vaudeville.

    Vaudeville was huge at some point but thanks to the radio and them talkies, vaudeville disappeared roughly overnight.

    In the future people won't passively watch movies. They'll play video games (which will be hper-realistic) and have the choice to passively watch them if they don't feel like playing.

    Seriously, good luck in the future.

     

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  32.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Clueless Masnick

    This article illustrates just how clueless Masnick is about the film industry.

    Heh. Ok.

    The Hollywood studios make most of their money from the home entertainment market (ie DVDs, licensing to TV and cable), not the cinema box office.

    As someone else noted, Hollywood fought the home entertainment market as hard as possible. You lost all credibility there. So now you're claiming that it's important to save that market? Last time we didn't listen to your moral panics and you guys ended up making a lot more. Seems like it makes sense to do so again.

    They also have to give part of the box office to the owners of the cinema. It is quite possible for the box office figures to rise yet the studios struggle if the home entertainment market collapses due to rampant piracy.

    Indeed. It's entirely possible, but only if Hollywood is too clueless to implement smarter business models. I have faith that they'll figure it out. Are you suggesting that they aren't that smart?

     

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  33.  
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    cram, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:54pm

    But Hollywood isn't exactly struggling, if the-numbers.com is to be believed. Or is it just creative accounting that's creating that myth? And despite what Mike likes to believe, the shiny disc industry is still doing very well and doesn't seem to have suffered from "rampant piracy" anyway.

    Look at the numbers here, for 2008!

    www.the-numbers.com/dvd/charts/annual/2008.php

    It's a list of 100 top movies in the home entertainment sector, 93 of which sold more than a million units each (the top one sold almost 11 million).

    The revenues from the top EIGHT movies alone add up to a billion dollars.

    Perhaps there's no real need for so-called "new business models" since the current one seems to be working fine.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    Re:

    I think it's because Hollywood just really likes to bitch.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    lordmorgul, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re:

    You've got to be kidding right? There couldn't be a more obvious example of causation presented in a textbook.

    What happens when a band gets spotlighted on iTunes with the Single of the Week? They sell albums. What happened in the mid-1980s when a band had a song climb the charts due to radio air-time... they sold albums. This is not rocket science.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    lordmorgul, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Re: Clueless Masnick

    Indeed... smarter business models, like not charging $30 for a single DVD, because I won't a single damn one of them again until those prices fall back to a reasonable VALUE.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Correlation does not imply causation. It could be any number of independent factors...

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 12:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It could be any number of independent factors..."

    Yes, that was said already. Any number of independent factors that just happen to REPEATEDLY but randomly occur (you said they were independent...) so as to produce the same effect over a period of decades for hundreds of bands and chart topping songs...

    There is such a thing as Occam's Razor. While correlation may not imply causation, the correlation here provides the simplest plausible explanation and therefore without any additional information it is reasonable to accept it as the cause until proven otherwise. Good luck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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