Universal’s “Oppenheimer” Dominated the Oscars & Disney Shined with “Poor Things”, as Netflix, Apple & Others Were Snubbed

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2024 Oscars

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer dominated Sunday's 2024 Oscar ceremony, winning seven statuettes. These included Best Picture, Directing for Mr Nolan, Best Actor for Cillian Murphy and Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr. The seven victories propelled Universal Pictures to the top of the scoreboard, which is owned by Comcast (CMCSA.us). [1]

The media and entertainment giant had a successful 2023 in the movie business, as it had three Top-5 movies in the global box office, according to Box Office Mojo [2]. Oppenheimer came in third, Fast X was fifth and animated film The Super Mario Bros. Movie was second, grossing more than $1.3 billion last year. This successful theatrical performance helped Comcast's top and bottom lines, with revenues steading at around $121.5 billion in 2023, while its net income tripled in excess of $15 billion. The firm's streaming service Peacock, registered a nearly 50% y/y increase in paid subscribers, ending the year with 31 million users. [3]

The Walt Disney Company disappointed at the box office last year, as it studios division struggled creatively, but shined at Sunday's ceremony. It won five Oscars, led by Searchlight's Poor Things, including for Best Actress and Emma Stone. The critically acclaimed film has already debuted on Disney's streaming services. Disney had a rough patch over the past couple of years, but iconic CEO Bob Iger is already turning things around and the latest earnings report impressed.

The most successful movie of 2023 though was Barbie, grossing nearly $1.5 billion worldwide [2]. It popularity amongst audiences did not translate to Oscar success though and Warner Bros. had another lackluster ceremony with only one statute. The Studio division of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD.us) had a good 2023, despite poor Q4, with revenues up 25%. The firm's streaming segment also performed well, as it turned profitable (based on Adjusted EBITDA) and execs expect it to stay in the green in 2024. WBD had 97.7 million streaming subscribers at the end of 2023, but despite progress and strong content, it can't challenge the direct to consumer (DTC) leaders – Disney and Netflix. [4]

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Netflix had a solid presence in last year's Oscar awards with five wins, but was snubbed in Sunday's event with just one trophy. It had multiple nominations, highlighted by Maestro with superstar Bradley Cooper, but the film won none, amidst tough competition. Despite the lack of Oscar success, the streaming leader had a great year. Net Income grew more than 20% last year and revenues were up almost 7%, fueled by the changes around password sharing and the ad-supported tiers. Netflix regained the top spot in terms of subscribers, ending the year with more than 260 million. [5]

Tech behemoth Apple has been pushing on streaming, as its deep pockets allow it spend money on creating strong content. It had made history in 2022, becoming the first streamer to win the Best Picture Oscar with CODA, but was snubbed at the 2024 ceremony. It left empty-handed despite multiple nominations for Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, while its cast featured Leonardo DiCaprio Robert De Niro. Streaming is of course a small part of Apple's business, with iPhones generating most of its sales. Apple's comes form a good year, but largely missed the tech rally, as the lack of innovation and growth create headwinds.

Amazon.com is also investing on the entertainment front and aspires to become a significant streaming player, with strong original content. CEO Andy Jassy reiterated this year his "increasing conviction" that Prime Video can be a "large and profitable business on its own" [6]. However, Amazon had only a handful of Oscar nominations this year and scored just one victory.

Nikos Tzabouras

Senior Financial Editorial Writer

Nikos Tzabouras is a graduate of the Department of International & European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He has a long time presence at FXCM, as he joined the company in 2011. He has served from multiple positions, but specializes in financial market analysis and commentary.

With his educational background in international relations, he emphasizes not only on Technical Analysis but also in Fundamental Analysis and Geopolitics – which have been having increasing impact on financial markets. He has longtime experience in market analysis and as a host of educational trading courses via online and in-person sessions and conferences.

References

1

Retrieved 11 Mar 2024 https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2024

2

Retrieved 11 Mar 2024 https://www.boxofficemojo.com/year/world/2023/

3

Retrieved 11 Mar 2024 https://www.cmcsa.com/static-files/050e7ae9-5e03-46d7-a39b-a1fff353faea

4

Retrieved 11 Mar 2024 https://s201.q4cdn.com/336605034/files/doc_earnings/2023/q4/earnings-result/WBD-4Q23-Earnings-Release.pdf

5

Retrieved 11 Mar 2024 https://s22.q4cdn.com/959853165/files/doc_financials/2023/q4/NEW-FINAL-Q4-23-Shareholder-Letter.pdf

6

Retrieved 16 Jul 2024 https://s2.q4cdn.com/299287126/files/doc_financials/2023/q4/Amazon-Q4_2023_Transcript.pdf

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