Home Economy News Factbox-Paramount, Skydance merger deal turns spotlight on top Hollywood studios

Factbox-Paramount, Skydance merger deal turns spotlight on top Hollywood studios

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By Harshita Mary Varghese and Jaspreet Singh

(Reuters) -Skydance Media’s deal to merge with Paramount Global ends a months-long saga that had enough drama to rival a Hollywood movie, including a near collapse in deal talks, boardroom shakeup and a flurry of competing offers.

The companies agreed to a two-step process, in which Skydance and its deal partners will acquire National Amusements, which holds the Redstone family’s controlling stake in Paramount, for $2.4 billion in cash.

Skydance will subsequently merge with Paramount, offering $4.5 billion in cash or stock to shareholders and providing an additional $1.5 billion for its balance sheet.

Here are Hollywood’s top studios and their performances:

UNIVERSAL PICTURES

Universal Pictures, founded in 1912 and owned by media giant Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) through its subsidiary NBCUniversal, is one of Hollywood’s biggest film studios.

It owns classics such as “Jurassic Park,” “Fast and Furious” and “Minions.” “Jaws” and “E.T. the Extraterrestrial,” which became the highest-grossing films of all time during their initial releases, are also part of Universal’s library.

The film library consists of more than 6,500 titles, according to its annual report.

Universal was ranked No. 1 in the worldwide box office last year for the first time since 2015.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features, under the banner of Comcast, racked up about $1.94 billion in box-office revenue in the U.S. and Canada in 2023, according to research firm Comscore.

Last year, theatrical revenue came in at $2.08 billion, according to the company’s annual report, driven by big wins including Christopher Nolan’s epic “Oppenheimer” and the animated adventure “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

Universal dominated this year’s Academy Awards, bolstered by “Oppenheimer,” which won seven Oscars, including best picture.

PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Paramount Pictures, considered the jewel of Paramount Global, has attracted many suitors over the years.

However, Shari Redstone, the company’s controlling shareholder through her stake in parent company National Amusements, has been reluctant to part with the studio that her father, the late Sumner Redstone, acquired in 1994.

The studio’s library consists of more than 1,000 titles, including “Star Trek,” “Godfather” and “Mission Impossible,” with rights to an additional 2,500 films.

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”, starring Tom Cruise, is its top-grossing film, bringing in box office revenue of $172.1 million last year in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, IMDb’s Box Office Mojo data showed.

Last year, Paramount Pictures grossed $842.4 million in box office revenue in the U.S. and Canada, Comscore data showed.

Paramount, like other studios in the U.S., is recovering from last year’s months-long strikes by Hollywood writers and actors. Along with a soft advertising market, the strikes weighed on the company’s eroding profit.

THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) and brother Roy Disney founded “Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio” after signing a contract with distributor M.J. Winkler for “Alice Comedies” in October 1923. The studio was renamed Walt Disney Studios in 1926.

Its collection of renowned studios includes Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Searchlight Pictures and 20th Century Studios.

Disney is home to popular film franchises such as “Avengers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and holds a collection of live-action versions of classic tales such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “Maleficent,” “The Jungle Book,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.”

Cumulatively through Sept. 30 last year, the company has released about 1,100 full-length live-action films and 100 full-length animated films.

The studios brought in combined U.S. and Canada box office revenue of $1.90 billion in 2023, Comscore said, with hits such as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and musical fantasy film “The Little Mermaid” topping the charts.

WARNER BROS. MOTION PICTURE GROUP

Owned by Warner Bros Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD), Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group includes Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures Animation.

The company has a library of 12,500 feature films including franchises such as “Wonder Woman,” “Harry Potter” and “Batman.”

Warner Bros. Pictures Animation began its journey with the iconic “Looney Tunes” in 1930 and has produced classics such as “The Iron Giant,” “The Lego Movie” franchise and “Happy Feet.”

It made headlines in 2023 with the feminist doll adventure, “Barbie”, which topped $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide.

The company’s recent releases such as star-studded “Dune: Part Two” grossed about $711.8 million in worldwide box office collection, according to Box Office Mojo.

The studio ranked third last year in U.S. and Canada box office revenue with about $1.43 billion, according to Comscore.

SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Sony (NYSE:SONY) Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Japan’s Sony Group, was formed through the $3.4 billion purchase of Columbia Pictures Entertainment in 1989.

The Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group includes more than 3,500 movie titles as of March 2023, including 12 best picture Academy Award winners.

It has produced some of the industry’s most notable franchises such as “Jumanji,” “Resident Evil,” “Spider-Man,” “Bad Boys” and “Men in Black”.

Last year, the studio released its long-awaited adrenaline-fueled film “Gran Turismo”, an adaptation of Sony PlayStation’s hit car-racing franchise by the same name.

The film brought in revenue of more than $44 million in domestic box office and grossed over $122 million in worldwide box-office collection, according to Box Office Mojo.Sony Pictures Entertainment and private-equity firm Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) had expressed interest in acquiring Paramount Global.

SKYDANCE MEDIA

The Santa Monica, California-based independent studio was founded in 2010 by David Ellison, son of billionaire Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) founder Larry Ellison.

In 2006, David Ellison dropped out of school to finance “Flyboys,” a World War I movie about fighter pilots starring James Franco and Ellison. The film flopped and another project, “Northern Lights,” failed to take flight.

“The name Skydance comes from David’s love of aviation,” according to the website. “True Grit” was the company’s first feature film that received 10 Academy Award nominations.

The studio became well known after it partnered with Paramount Global and co-produced “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Mission: Impossible” films.

Skydance’s films have earned more than $8 billion at the worldwide box office, according to its website.

A24 FILMS

New York-based independent studio A24 was founded by three film executives, Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges, in 2012.

The first film A24 produced and financed, together with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, was “Moonlight,” which won the Oscar for best picture in 2017.

Some of its box office success has come from the horror genre, with such critically acclaimed films as “Hereditary” and “Midsommar.”

The studio brought in $136.7 million in box-office revenue from U.S. and Canada last year, according to Comscore data, driven by hits like “Priscilla,” a film on Elvis Presley’s wife.

A24 garnered 18 Academy Award nominations across six films in 2023. The studio’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won seven Oscars, including best picture.

AMAZON MGM STUDIOS

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) closed its $8.5 billion deal to buy MGM in 2022, combining the fabled moviemaker behind “Rocky” and “James Bond” with the online retailing giant.

MGM bolstered Amazon Prime Video’s offering with more than 4,000 film titles.

Last year, the Amazon MGM Studios brought in revenue of more than $275 million from the U.S. and Canada, according to Comscore data.

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