NBCU’s Donna Langley On Impact Of Possible Sony-Paramount Merger: “There Will Be Further Consolidation…It’s Sad” – Cannes

As fears stack up in the industry over a possible Sony and Paramount merger, subtracting one major motion picture studio from the industry, The Chairman of NBCU Studio Group and Chief Content Officer Donna Langley at a Cannes Kering talk weighed in on what that impact will be.

“Consolidation is inevitable. It will happen, I’m not suggesting Paramount. There will be further consolidation. I think It’s sad,” said Langley, “I’ve a big believer in a competitive landscape; all boats will rise. I Iike having healthy competitors, it’s much more fun and interesting, it’s better for the business.”

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“I’m hoping by the end of the year, we’ll know where it settles, it’s enough reading about this one or that one,” said Langley referring to Skydance and Sony/Apollo’s push and pull for Paramount.

Langley spoke about how the theatrical landscape has changed post Covid, a trend that’s being experienced throughout the media landscape.

“These are trends that were really put in motion before the pandemic,” said Langley with Covid accelerating the shift of consumer behavior.

She mentioned that the theatrical global market is down more than 20% from pre-Covid times.

“We’re not going to recapture that,” said Langley, “It’s OK, we can withstand it.”

Langley cited the strikes setting the business back with “less volume going through the marketplace.”

“We need volume to come back, we need more movies,” said the studio boss, for it’s that which will create momentum and get people back into theaters.

Asked what lessons were learned from the near $1 billion dollar success and seven Oscar streak of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, Langley responded, “There are no rules in the movie business.”

“I remember when we bought the film, it was a funny thing, it was a highly competitive when we got it. It was deemed a disaster before it came,” she said about the industry gossip around Hollywood. There was buzz out there that Uni spend way too much money for a lengthy historical drama.

Sure, there were concerns that the summer double strikes would provide a blow to the marketing campaign, however, Oppenheimer was able to blast off with a world premiere, along with Barbie, before actors were sidelined from promoting projects.

“What Oppenheimer shows you, if you make it, they will come.”

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