Sony Corp. is looking into putting Sony Pictures up for sale, thereby selling off their movie and TV divisions. As one of Hollywood’s six major studios, Sony Pictures (which includes Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Screen Gems) has several blockbuster franchise properties under its belt both in film and on television. But what franchises does Sony actually own that could be up for grabs?
Sony and all of its studios are big proponents of comedy films, and the bulk of their most profitable movies are light-hearted that range from family-friendly affairs to R-rated, raunchy productions that appeal mostly to adults. Some of their top comedy properties are: Ghostbusters, Goosebumps, Jump Street, and of course, virtually anything that Seth Rogen and his frequent collaborators conjure up.
Aside from their big comedy films, Sony has plenty of action-focused franchises in their library. The Karate Kid, The Dark Tower, Sicario, Charlie’s Angels, and Underworld, not to mention the Millennium (The Girl in the Spider’s Web) and Robert Langdon series (The Da Vinci Code). But one of their biggest action franchises is certainly Men in Black. A spinoff is currently in the works, which may spawn a new series/timeline of its own. And now, Jumanji is a new property that any buyer would consider looking at. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starring Dwayne Johnson has become a massive global hit. Of course, Sony Pictures’ biggest properties remain Spider-Man and James Bond. However, those IPs may not be a part of any potential buyout deal.
The exact specifics of Sony’s original deal with Marvel isn’t known to the general public, but reports have stated that if Sony Pictures is sold to another studio, the Spider-Man movie rights (including their villain spinoffs) could automatically revert back to Marvel. Of course, Marvel already has a unique partnership with Sony to share the character in their respective cinematic universes; therefore, Disney doesn’t need to acquire Sony unless they want the studio’s other properties.
As for James Bond, Sony (through Columbia Pictures) entered into a production and distribution agreement with EON Productions and MGM in the early 2000s. Columbia Pictures co-produced and distributed Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, and then fully distributed Skyfall and Spectre following MGM’s bankruptcy. Now that their deal is up, though, the James Bond distribution rights are up in the air. As EON and MGM are looking to sign a one-picture contract for Bond 25, not a four-picture deal, this may not even be impacted, but should Sony keep the relationship going that wouldn’t transfer over in a deal.
Even though Spider-Man and James Bond might not be a part of a Sony buyout, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things worth acquiring. As Sony’s film arm, Sony Pictures is in charge of shepherding movie adaptations for any and all Sony-owned video game franchises, such as Uncharted and The Last of Us. Considering how many first-party titles Sony produces for PlayStation, that’s a potentially never-ending supply of video game movie ideas. Every major film studio has a unique slate of franchises in their archives, but not every studio has an equally expansive slate of video games.
A Sony Pictures buyout could also transfer any number of production and distribution deals the studio has at the moment. For instance, Sony currently works with studios such as Annapurna Pictures (Foxcatcher, Sausage Party), Constantin Films (Resident Evil), and Happy Madison Productions (Pixels, Grown Ups), among others. A deal could expand any studio’s slate by quite a bit without actually having to shell out hard cash for properties.
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