Sony Film Unit Posts $93M Quarterly Profit; Company Forecasts Record Full-Year Earnings

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Still 9 - Publicity - H 2017
Frank Masi/Sony Pictures Entertainment

'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' helped put the pictures division back in the black after it took a huge impairment charge in the same quarter of 2016.

Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures unit recorded a $93 million (10.5 billion yen) profit for the October-to-December quarter, boosted by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and increased revenue from TV show licensing, including Netflix's The Crown

Starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, Jumanji has gone on to make more than $824 million at the box office worldwide, a figure still likely to grow, though most of that will be recorded in the following quarter as it was released globally in January. Sony logged $329 million of Jumanji's box office in the quarter, along with $163 million for Blade Runner 2049, which Sony distributed outside North America. 

For the fiscal third quarter in 2016, Sony took a $962 million (112.1 billion yen) impairment charge for its film division, which pushed it to a massive $920 million (106.8 billion yen) loss and sparked speculation the company was preparing to exit the movie business.

Revenue at the film division rose to $2.37 billion (260 billion yen) for the latest quarter, compared with $1.94 billion (225 billion yen) in the year-ago quarter.

The forecast for full-year profits at the pictures division was left unchanged at $355 million (39 billion yen).

Overall quarterly revenue at Sony Corp. was up 11.5 percent to $23.65 billion in dollar terms, while operating profit jumped 280 percent to $3.2 billion, the company's best quarterly performance ever. The strong performance was attributed to healthy sales in the games, home electronics and financial services segments.

The entertainment and electronics group also boosted its profit forecast for the full fiscal year that ends in March to an all-time high of $6.6 billion (720 billion yen).

The gaming division contributed $320 million to group profits on revenue of $6.54 billion, up 16 percent on the continued strong performance of the PlayStation 4 console. 

Music also continued to deliver profits for Sony, with revenue at the division up 22 percent to nearly $2 billion and operating income also rising significantly to $358 million. The division saw increased sales in both recorded music and streaming, as well as a mobile game that comes under Sony music in Japan.  

Sony's quarterly results came after the company said that CEO Kazuo Hirai would be replaced by CFO Kenichiro Yoshida, effective April 1.