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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Companies: sony, sony pictures

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Comments on “Sony Pictures Having Its Best Box Office Year Ever… Still Blaming Piracy For Killing The Business”

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38 Comments
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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-tickets-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?

ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:

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

Hulser (profile) says:

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.

Matthew Cruse (profile) says:

Re: 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)

Derek Reed (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Freedom is Freeloading says:

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!

Jason says:

Re: 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.

RD says:

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.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

What a crock .....

“Lynton claims that illegal downloads would significantly detract from the worldwide ticket sales if the documentary was released in the normal two- to three-month staggered fashion for international showings. “If Sony released it only in the US on Wednesday, by late Thursday it would be camcorded, uploaded on to the Internet and available free to anyone with a broadband connection,” he reasons.”

In two months people wouldnt have cared because the whole being able to capitalizing on MJ’s death would have run its course … and if people downloaded it they probably wont have gone to see it, thats the way it works with movies that really suck …

Derek Reed (profile) says:

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?

SonyRootkit says:

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

Overcast (profile) says:

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.

lordmorgul says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile) says:

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.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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…

catullusrl says:

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/

Anonymous Coward says:

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!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

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?

cram says:

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!

http://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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