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Moonves: 'Going Slowly' With CBS Films

13 Dec, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CBS Corp.’s much-publicized foray into motion picture productions continues to be a work-in-progress that CEO Les Moonves hopes will break even in 2011.

Speaking Dec. 7 to an investor group in New York, Moonves said he was happy the millions in production costs associated with theatrical releases could be offset by the billions that CBS will generate in revenue in 2010.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment distributes CBS Films on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

“[Theatrical movies are] a tough nut to crack,” Moonves said. “We are a little guy in that world.”

Indeed, CBS Films’ first movie, Extraordinary Measures, starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser, generated about $12 million at the box office on a $30 million budget.

“[It] was a big miss,” Moonves said.

Follow up The Back-Up Plan, starring Jennifer Lopez, performed better, grossing nearly $80 million at the box office.

“The last one [only] cost us $12 million,” he said.

The third movie, Beastly, with Neil Patrick Harris and Vanessa Hudgens, doesn't open until next March, according to a CBS Films spokesperson.

Moonves said he would continue into 2011 taking “small steps” with CBS Films, releasing three to four titles with relatively small budgets. The CEO said he would like to continue film production until “we figure” it out.

“I’m happy we put our toe in the water,” he said. “I’m glad we didn’t dive in headfirst.”

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