CASE STUDY: TB'S Studio Series - An Analysis of the Major Movie Studios in 2016

For entertainment industry junkies who see the value in understanding the major movie studios, Neil Turitz has done us a big favor by writing a great series at the Tracking Board called "The Studio Series."  With the Studio Series, Turitz analyzes each major movie studio in 2016 to assess their strategies as well as what they are doing right and wrong.  Whether you're just a movie fan who likes digging deep into the industry that makes the film he loves or a filmmaker trying to figure out where to pitch her next film, the analysis below will be sure to inform.

STX Entertainment and Studio 8

  • To break into the film distribution business on the higher budget side seems like a fools errand. But if you’re Robert Simonds and Adam Fogelson at STX Entertainment, and Jeff Robinov at Studio 8, then you’re not thinking in exactly those terms. On the contrary, you’re thinking you can take on the system and win.

A24, Open Road and Roadside Attractions

  • A look at three of the more successful smaller distributors, Roadside Attractions, A24, and Open Road, the latter two of which won the top prizes for feature films at this year’s Oscars, Best Documentary Feature and Best Picture, respectively.

FOX Searchlight

  • Winning a Best Picture trophy doesn’t happen very often. Even rarer is winning two in a row, and yet that’s what Fox Searchlight just did in 2014 and 2015 with 12 Years a Slave and Birdman. Consider, also, that the company has either released a Best Picture nominee or a film that won another major Oscar each year since 2006, and in several years, it has done both. That’s a nice run, but it might very well end in 2016.

Netflix and Amazon

  • Not your typical movie studio. But still players in the game.

Weinstein Company

  • In 2016, The Weinstein Company has grossed $54.8 million domestically, but almost $50 million of that came from The Hateful Eight and Carol, which means that the four movies released by the company thus far this year have combined for under $5 million domestically. Yes, things may be down at TWC, but no one in Hollywood dares to bet against Bob and Harvey.

Focus Features

  • If there is an ideal situation for a film company to inhabit, it would probably be some sort of self-sufficiency combined with the infrastructure of a larger operation. Basically, the exact situation Focus Features has.


  • Last summer the Paramount executives would have scoffed at the idea that the studio’s highest grossing film of 2016 thus far would be a Will Ferrell comedy released on Christmas Day. Of the previous year. (But that's the situation they find themselves in ~~ DJ)

Sony Pictures

  • To say that Sony’s film division has had a bit of a tough go lately might be an understatement. The email hack, the terrorist threat against The Interview, and a failure to clear the billion dollar mark in domestic grosses in 2015. But look a little closer, and it’s not necessarily as dire as it might appear.


  • When you’re a smaller studio without the resources of one of the Big Six your attitude and strategy has to be a bit different from the norm. And since Lionsgate is now in the crosshairs, it’s time to talk about that strategy, as well as what happens when it doesn’t work out so well.

Warner Bros.

  • Despite the relative failure of Batman v Superman, do not yet abandon hope, all ye who enter. The calendar still holds some possibility that 2016 won’t be a total disaster.

20th Century Fox

  • Twentieth has had an interesting year so far, with highs like Deadpool, not-so-highs like X-Men: Apocalypse, and the announcement that Stacey Snider will be taking over the reins at the studio. With nearly a dozen movies left on the schedule, including this week’s Independence Daysequel, can Fox still pull off a resurgence in 2016?

Disney (+ Marvel, LucasFilm and Pixar)

  • Disney is primed to obliterate every record out there (it already beat the one for fastest to $1B, which it did in just 128 days), and even with a change in leadership in the offing, there are plenty of reasons to think that upward trend will continue apace for some time. 

  • Why was the first half of last year so much better than this year for Universal? That’s easy: this year doesn’t have the ferocious combination of Furious 7Fifty Shades of Grey and Pitch Perfect 2. This is part one of our weekly series analyzing the current state of the studios.
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Nothing on this blog or blog posting is official legal advice; it is just information and opinion. But if you want to, you can visit my professional website and hire me.


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