Media C-Suite Week No. 31, Issue 18

A Week in the Media C-Suite Issue 18

A Week in the Media C-Suite

It’s Sunday, the 30th of July, 2023.

Earnings calls held by publicly-listed companies are taking place to report to shareholders on the result of this year’s second fiscal quarter.  This is when the C-Suites have to perform in front of their shareholders and financial analysts. 

Its been another bumper year for most of the media conglomerates.  CEOs will be required to explain why this was according to plan and CFOs will put the numbers right out there for all to see. 

Something that the WGA and SAG-AFTRA are (or should be) paying close attention to. 

Just Catching Up?

The rest of us are already out of breath!

Here’s a taste of what you might have missed this last week.

The Smell Test

Creditors began preparing questions last week after BRON Media filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. and Canada.  BRON is seeking protection from creditors after reportedly earning as much as 25% of the net profits from Joker, the 2019 breakout hit distributed by Warner Bros, which achieved over US$1.1 billion in global box office gross revenues against an estimated US$70 million budget.

The film finance firm is being re-organised under the Administration of Grant Thornton in Canada.  Grant Thornton also acts as the Court appointed Receiver in a massive film finance fraud in Canada that involved BRON.  A series of sealed agreements between Grant Thornton as the Receiver and BRON’s founder, Aaron Gilbert, raises questions on the connection between Gilbert, BRON and Crystal Wealth Management’s admitted schemes to defraud Canadian investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. 

An opportunity to explore possible links between Crystal Wealth Management, BRON and the Hollywood Studios is now tantalisingly close at hand. The first hearings in the US Bankruptcy Court will be held in August.

Hollywood has been very good at getting away with making money vanish.  Courts have chastised them for it on numerous occasions without changing the fact that creatives often receive nothing, even from films that achieve billion dollar box office grosses.  But what this bankruptcy offers is an opportunity for both creditors and US Justice Department officials to get a close look at the agreements and relationships that have formed the basis for infamous Hollywood Accounting practices over the past several decades.  Those Hollywood Accounting practices purport to divert film and television revenues to distributors and affiliates while cheating creatives and their investors out of net profits. 

If the right questions are asked, BRON’s bankruptcy proceedings may finally offer a crack in the armour that exposes Hollywood’s dirtiest, and poorest kept, secrets.   

For a deeper understanding of just how serious this could be, read our latest article:

The Extraordinary Bankruptcy of BRON Studios

BRON Studios’ Bankruptcy Begs Serious Questions

The last thing Hollywood bosses want at this moment is a financial scandal.  Yet that is what may be needed to make room for truly professional investors to rid the industry of “Hollywood Accounting” and the unscrupulous money it attracts.

Looking Ahead?

That’s where opportunity is found!

Tinted Glasses

Last weekend provided an impressive box office haul for cinemas and distributors with US$311.3 million, the fourth highest box office weekend in North America and the highest since 2019.  Barbie and Oppenheimer delivered most of that with US$244.5 million between them last weekend.

The “Barbenheimer” effect may have waned this weekend with an estimated combined US$139.2 million in box office gross for the past three days.  Exhibitors are thrilled nonetheless.  But the elation may be short-lived.

Our friends at report that, “For the moment, concerns over Hollywood’s labor impasse have receded into the shadows, as exhibitors celebrate their sizeable profits.”

The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue unabated and theatrical release of further Studio distributed features will begin to taper off if content isn’t being completed and talent isn’t promoting it in the run-up to the Christmas season. Perhaps we can let the exhibitors have their moment before contemplating what comes next. 

Read the full Screendollars’ Sunday Newsletter for more theatrical news.

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Screendollars’ Weekend Review: July 28-30

BARBIE is well on its way to becoming the second-highest gross of the year behind THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE. This weekend’s drop of 43% indicates that it should continue to hold up well, even in the face of Wednesday’s arrival of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM. 

Further Reading:

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