Universal Pictures

by [Bobby O'Brien]

Universal Pictures Logo [1]

Overview & History

Universal Pictures, a subsidiary of NBC Universal, is considered one of the planet’s most renowned film studios. For nearly a century the company has produced  academy award winning films and culture shaping content. Over the past 6 months, Universal Picture’s tradition of excellence has continued. Since June 29th 2012, Universal Pictures has released 5 major motion pictures. Of these films, 4 have placed within the top 70 grossing films of 2012, and 3 have placed within the top 50. These five films have accumulated a combined gross product of $442, 317, 963. [2]

Carl Laemmle [4]

In 1915, German-American Film pioneer, Carl Laemmle, founded Universal Studios with the help of Abe and Julius Stern. The trio constructed two movie sets on a former chicken farm in Los Angeles California. Ninety-eight years later, 100 Universal City Plaza Drive in Los Angeles California remains the home of Universal Studios. [3] Today Universal Pictures is spearheaded by several accomplished and capable leaders, including James Schamus, Jimmy Horowitz, Cindy Gardner, Adam Fogelson, and Rick Finkelstein.

Executives

James Schamus [6]

James Schamus is the Chief Executive Officer of Universal Pictures. He has held the position since May of 2006. Schamus also serves as the Co-President of Focus Features, a sister company of Universal Pictures. [5]

In May of 2010, Jimmy Horowitz was named president of Universal Pictures. Horowitz manages day to day business operations for the studio and serves as a key member for Universal’s senior management team. He has worked for Universal for more than 18 years. [7]

Cindy Gardner has served as Universal Studio’s Senior Vice President since September 2005. Gardner is responsible for the company’s media relations, issues management, philanthropy, and special events. [8]

Adam Fogelson has held the title of Chairman of Universal Pictures since October of 2009. He oversees worldwide operations for the motion pictures group. Projects that Fogelson has worked on include American Pie, Knocked Up, and Erin Brockovich. [9]

Rick Finkelstein serves as Universal Pictures Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer. This Jerry Seinfeld-look-alike oversees Universal Picture’s worldwide home entertainment and television distribution. [10]

Recent News

September:

September 7th, 2012

The Street has recently informed the public of Universal Pictures plans to release Pitch Perfect, a musical comedy staring Anna Kendrick, on Friday September 28th, one week earlier than its scheduled premiere on October 5th. The film’s wide release is set to remain on its prior date, however select theaters in North America will have an opportunity to see it ahead of time. The limited release was constructed following positive feedback from early screening moviegoers. Universal Pictures feels that Pitch Perfect has a reliable and sturdy target audience that is eager for the film’s release. To some surprise, Universal Pictures has promoted Pitch Perfect with “the most extensive screening campaign in the studios history.” [11]

September 25th, 2012

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Universal Pictures has set a record for the “highest grossing-year domestically in the studio’s 100 year history”. On Monday September 24th, the studio surpassed the previous record of $1.27 billion set in 2008. More than a third of the studio’s gross product came from The Lorax and Ted, acquiring a combined $432 million. This ground-breaking news comes before the release of four major Universal Pictures’ films, including Pitch Perfect The Man WIth the Iron FistsThis is 40, and Les Miserables. Universal Pictures is on track to shatter its 2008 record. Perhaps it will be far more than four years before the record of 2012 will be broken. [12]

October:

October 29th, 2012

According to Variety, Universal Pictures has alas acquired the rights to Subdivision. The sci-fi comedy written by Morgan Jugerson and Alex Ankeles will be produced by Justin Lin and Elaine Chin. All involved in the deal have been sure to keep the

Fast Five [16]

premise under wraps. Lin may be remembered for his recent success associated with Fast Fivea film he produced that was released in April of 2011. Universal’s VP of production, Kristin Lowe, will oversee the project. Unfortunately, a feasible release date for the film has yet to be determined. [13]

October 31st, 2012

PR Newswire has reported that Universal Pictures will release its Despicable Me 2trailer on iTunes today. The occurrence marks the first time that the studio has released a trailer on iTunes with international versions available within the same 24 hour period. This development perhaps illustrates the studio’s continued technological and global advancements. Despicable Me 2 hits theaters on July 3rd 2013. [14] Universal will attempt to play off of the success of Despicable Me, which raked in a total domestic gross of $251,513,985 in the summer of 2010. [15] Look for Despicable Me 2 to make a big splash this summer. 

November: 

November 12th, 2012

The Hartford Courant has recently reminded us that, November 15th, 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking premiere of To Kill a Mocking BirdUniversal

To Kill A Mockingbird [18]

Pictures’ adaptation of Harper Lee‘s novel will be re-released on Thursday, November 15th in select theaters. The 1962 film won Gregory Peck an Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus Finch. It will forever be remembered as an American classic. [17]

November 13th, 2012

At 9 a.m. pacific standard time, the Los Angeles Times reported a story that is sure to shake up the film industry. According to the newspaper, Michael Eisner‘s Tornante Co. has finalized a distribution deal with Universal Pictures. The multiyear deal will lead Universal Pictures to market and distribute movies financed by Tornante.  Eisner is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company. In an attempt to “return to his roots” of moviemaking Eisner looks to take advantage of the industry’s lack of original stories. He hopes that the first of Tornante’s feature films will be released no later than early 2014. In a time when the film industry is cluttered with sequels and remakes, it is encouraging to hear of an opportunity for new and original content. With the money and support of Universal Pictures, Tornante Co., is likely to become a household name in Hollywood. [19]

November 29th 2012

In March of 2012 Universal Pictures Spent $5 million to acquire the movie rights of Fifty Shades of Greythe best selling novel written by E.L. James. The Hollywood Reporter has released a story stating that Universal pictures has recently filed a lawsuit against Smash Pictures and director James Lane, who have recently finished producing Fifty Shades of Grey: A XXX Adaptation. Luv Moves a distribution company that packaged and allocated DVD’s of the porn parody has also been targeted in the lawsuit. Universal Picture’s and Fifty Shades Ltd. are requesting an injunction and further monetary damage. [20]

December

December 4th 2012

Universal Picture’s Les Miserablesis one of the most highly anticipated films of 2012. Set to be released on Christmas day, the musical starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathawayis due for a strong opening weekend and perhaps some

Les Miserables [21]

recognition from the academy. The Sacramento Bee has reported an announcement from Universal Pictures, stating that the film will be “digitally remastered into the immersive IMAX format” and released in IMAX theaters worldwide. The film will be released in IMAX theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal on December 25th. Those abroad will have to wait until January 10th for the film’s IMAX release. Greg Foster, the President of IMAX entertainment, stated that Les Miserables “lends itself perfectly to the IMAX Experience”. The IMAX release of Les Miserables is sure to amplify the buzz surrounding the movie and its premiere. The second format option and increase in screens may lead to a tremendous financial success. [22]

Future

The upcoming winter and remainder of 2012 appears to be promising for Universal Pictures. On December 21st 2012, This is 40, a film written and directed by Judd Apatow, will be widely released in North America. The highly anticipated Les Miserables, will premiere on Christmas day and the Osama Bin Laden murder thriller, Zero Dark Thirtywill be released two and a half weeks later. A fitting end to a record-setting year seems to be in store for Universal Pictures.

Sources: 

[1] Universal Pictures’ Twitter Account; https://twitter.com/UniversalEnt

[2] Box Office Mojo; 2012; http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2012&p=.htm

[3] U.S. History: Universal Studios; http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h3086.html

[4] Silent Hollywood; http://silenthollywood.com/carllaemmle.html

[5] Bloomberg Business Week; http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=2144227&privcapId=2092219&previousCapId=804881&previousTitle=Universal%20Studios,%20Inc.

[6] IMBD; James Schamus; http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0770005/

[7] NBC Universal Website; Executives; Jimmy Horowitz; http://www.nbcuni.com/corporate/management/executive/universal-pictures/jimmy-horowitz/ 

[8] NBC Universal Website; Executives; Cindy Gardner http://www.nbcuni.com/corporate/management/communication-lead/universal-pictures/cindy-gardner/ 

[9] NBC Universal Website; Executives; Adam Fogelson http://www.nbcuni.com/corporate/management/senior-corporate-executives/universal-pictures/adam-fogelson/

[10] NBC Universal Website; Executives; Rick Finkelstein http://www.nbcuni.com/corporate/management/executive/universal-pictures/rick-finkelstein/ 

[11] PR Newswire; The Street;  http://www.thestreet.com/story/11689878/1/universal-pictures-to-release-pitch-perfect-in-select-theaters-on-friday-september-28-2012.html 

[12] Tatiana Siegel; Pamela McClintock; The Hollywood Reporter http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/universal-pictures-box-office-hits-one-billion-373928

[13] Jeff Sneider; Variety; http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118061411

[14] PR Newswire; United Business Media; http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/universal-pictures-announces-the-new-despicable-me-2-trailer-will-launch-worldwide-on-itunes-on-wednesday-october-31-2012-176616821.html

[15] Box Office Mojo; http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=despicableme.htm

[16] Netflix; http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Fast_Five/70157102?locale=en-US

[17] Susan Dunne; Hartford Courant; http://articles.courant.com/2012-11-12/entertainment/hc-alt-mockingbird-1115-20121112_1_connecticut-post-atticus-finch-digiplex-bloomfield 

[18] Amazon; http://www.amazon.com/To-Kill-a-Mockingbird/dp/B000ID37RM 

[19] Dawn C. Chmielewski; The Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-tornante-strikes-deal-with-universal-20121112,0,2336520.story

[20] Eriq Gardner; Hollywood Reporter; http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/fifty-shades-grey-porn-adaptation-395478 

[21] IMBD; Les Miserables; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1707386/

[22] IMAX Corporation; The Sacramento Bee; http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/04/5030373/universal-pictures-les-miserables.html 

Comments are closed.