TOP 5 U.S.

   The top five domestic distributors as of the end of October saw Universal take over the number 4 spot from Paramount, edging Viacom's movie maker down to fifth place. Buena Vista, Disney's top money maker, shows no sign of releasing its control of the top position. The current leaders are:

1.) BUENA VISTA 15.91%
Grossed: $982,378,309

2.) WARNER BROS. 13.31%
Grossed: $822,230,131

3.) DREAMWORKS 12.17%
Grossed: $751,957,313

4.) UNIVERSAL 11.76%
Grossed: $726,040,962

5.) PARAMOUNT 10.27%
Grossed: $634,158,406

"Parents" and "Titans" $100 Million Members

   Universal Pictures' "Meet the Parents" and Buena Vista's "Remember the Titans" were the 14th and 15th movies to hit the $100 million mark at the domestic box office this year. But with the September box office off 22%, and admissions at an 8-year low, it remains to be seen if this year can match last year's record breaking list of 21 films with North American box office grosses exceeding $100 million each.

Sony Film Division Facing Loses

   Sony's film division recently reported an operating loss of $67.2 million, a reduction of almost 28% over last year's revenue. Sony blamed a write-off for past advertising expenses required by a new U.S. accounting standard for $48 million of the deficit. Contibuting to its finacial woes were a series of boxoffice duds that included "Loser" in the United States and "The Patriot" in non-US markets.
   Shortly after Sony reported its loses, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced it had "reorganized" its executive ranks to, "strengthen upper management and provide a succession strategy for chairman and CEO John Calley." The new organization has just about everyone reporting to SPE president Mel Harris, but Calley retained his sole green-light authority for projects.

"Unbreakable" Disney's Best?

   At a recent advance screening, a Disney official whispered to a fellow audience member that "Unbreakable" starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis is "the best movie the studio's ever made."
   That's confidence for you. Let's hope it lives up to expectations. The industry needs a few really good films before the year ends to lift overall box office figures out of the dumpster.

Prices Up – Attendance Down

   Down almost 5% from 1999, the domestic box office for October still totaled $423.6 million. Considering September's abysmal drop of 22% studio execs welcomed the 5% October downturn as a morale booster.
   Although this October was off from last year, it was only the third time in history that October registered more than $400 million at the box office.
   Unfortunately, estimated ticket sales were down nearly 10% from the same period in 1999. It would seem October's box office income had more to do with increased ticket prices than the number of actual admissions. It seems that while audiences are being forced to pay more, they're watching less.

Viacom (Paramount Pictures) In The Black

   After costs and taxes stemming from its merger with CBS, Viacom, Inc. reported lower third-quarter net profits for this year, but strong operating earnings kept the world's third-largest media conglomerate well within Wall Street expectations. Viacom also counts Paramount Pictures, MTV, Nickelodean, and the Infinity Broadcasting radio stations among its holdings.
   Despite merger costs with CBS, income exceeded the company's expectations principally due to higher revenues at Paramount from the success of "Mission: Impossible 2" in foreign theatrical markets, the domestic release of "The Original Kings of Comedy," the network availability of "Titanic" and higher revenues from pay television operations.