Written by on Nov 25, 2013. Posted in Production News

Sony Pictures to scale back film production in favour of high-end TV

Sony Pictures is to scale back feature film production in order to focus on more high-end TV content like Breaking Bad. Several of the studio’s recent big-budget movies have under-performed at the global box-office, while revenue from TV productions has unexpectedly soared.

Will Smith’s sci-fi drama After Earth and action movie White House Down were among the studio’s under-performers over the summer. In contrast, the now-legendary TV drama Breaking Bad has been a huge commercial and critical hit, while upcoming spinoff Better Call Saul will be immediately profitable.

“Right now, we are in the golden age of television. The possibilities are limitless,” said Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television.

Sony was quick to clarify that it remains committed to the film industry and particularly the Spider-Man franchise. There have four successful Spider-Man movies since 2002, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 due in cinemas next year and more films confirmed for the coming years, including spinoffs focussing on additional characters in the Spider-Man universe.

Right now, we are in the golden age of television. The possibilities are limitless.

Steve Mosko, Sony Pictures Television

Amy Pascal, Sony’s co-chair, also revealed the importance of filming incentives in helping keeping costs down on the studio’s big-budget movies. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 filmed entirely on location in New York – the biggest shoot ever to do so – partly because of the state’s generous filming tax credit.

Sony is not alone in shifting more resources to TV production. Marvel has had greater recent box-office success with The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World, but is also branching into high-end television in a big way. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (right) is already on the air and the studio recently announced plans for no fewer than four new TV series and a miniseries – encompassing some 60 episodes – that will focus on additional Marvel characters.

Filming locations are likely to be strongly influenced by the availability of local tax credits and rebates, especially as budgets rise for high-end productions. Established production centres like Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Toronto and London are likely to be on studio shortlists.

(Breaking Bad photo: AMC/Sony; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. photo: Marvel)

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