Universal Pictures

by John Rooney

 

Universal Pictures logo

Universal Pictures logo [17]  

Location: 100 Universal Plaza, Universal City, California 91608

Web: http://www.universalpictures.com

History

Universal Pictures, Inc. was founded in 1912 by filmmaking partners Carl Laemmle and Robert Cochrane.  As the oldest American film studio, Universal maintains its status as a powerhouse in the world of movie production and distribution. The studio is part of NBCUniversal, which is altogether owned by Comcast. [1] In its over one-hundred years of history, the studio has produced dozens of beloved classics such as Jurassic Park, E.T. and Jaws. 

Key Executives  [2]   

Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures

Donna Langley, Chairman Universal Pictures

Donna Langley, Chairman Universal Pictures [2]  

Promoted to chairman in September of 2013, Langley has the task of overseeing all film production for Universal Pictures and Focus Features.

Jeff Shell, Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment

Jeff Shell, Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment

Jeff Shell, Chairman,
Universal Filmed Entertainment [2] 

Shell took over in September of 2013.  He came from Comcast, where he previously was the head of Universal International.  He is in charge of worldwide operations for the film studio.

Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal

Ron Meyer - www.nbcumv.com

Ron Meyer – www.nbcumv.com [2]  

Also appointed in September of 2013, Meyer’s job is to oversee all operations and planning for the company from films to theme parks.

Finances

Universal finished 2013 in third place in terms of revenue, just behind Warner Brothers and Disney.  The studio also saw its largest worldwide revenue ever, $3.67 billion ($1.42 billion domestic, $2.25 billion international).  This was a considerable increase from the $3.13 billion the studio made in 2012.   Films such as Identity Thief, The Purge, and Mama helped the studio achieve such success. [3]

In 2013, Universal broke the $2 billion revenue mark in the international market for the first time ever.  Fast & Furious 6, another huge film for Universal, opened at number one in 65 international territories and gave the studio it biggest opening weekend ever.  Other films such as Despicable Me 2 and Oblivion helped throw Universal into the global spotlight. [4]

Competition

For years, some of Universal’s main competition has been other large film studios such as Disney, Warner Brothers, Fox, and CBS. [5] However, another large area of competition for Universal and other film companies is movie and TV streaming software such as Netflix and Hulu.  A consumers ability to stream content online from a subscribed service is sure to hurt DVD sales.  Additionally, online streaming companies have been making all sorts of business ventures in order to create and sell their own original content. [6] 

Recent Film Releases

Neighbors 

Good Neighboors

Neighbors [7]  

An R-rated comedy from Good Universe, Neighbors is a hilarious account of a young husband and father’s struggles to peacefully coexist with a reckless group of fraternity brothers.  The film stars Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, with Rose Byrne and Dave Franco in supporting roles.  It was directed by Nicholas Stoller, who is famous for other projects such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to The Greek.  The film received positive reviews for the most part, earning a 73% from the top critics at “Rotten Tomatoes”. [7]

The movie opened on May 9, 2014.  It saw a successful first weekend with opening revenue at about $49 million.  The film raked in about $150 million domestically and $180 million internationally, with a total gross of over $286 million. [8]   

The Purge: Anarchy

the-purge

The Purge: Anarchy  [9] 

A sequel to the 2013 thriller The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy follows a group of diner employees as they fight to survive the annual “Purge”, a night where all crime is legal across America.  Written and directed by James DeMonaco, the film stars Frank Grillo, Kiele Sanchez, and Zach Gilford.  The film received mixed reviews, with critic’s complaints focused mainly on flaws in the writing. [9] 

The film was released on July 18, 2014 and saw an opening weekend revenue of nearly $30 million.  It earned nearly $72 million domestically and about $38 million internationally, for a total of almost $111 million in revenue.  In comparison to its predecessor, The Purge: Anarchy did not open as strongly, but earned about $22 million more in total revenue. [10] 

Dumb and Dumber To

Dumb-and-Dumber-To-Logo-550x185

Dumb Dumber To [11]  

The long awaited sequel to the 1994 Farrelly Brothers comedy Dumb and Dumber, Dumb and Dumber To presents the mindless antics of Harry and Lloyd once again as they set out on a mission to find Harry’s daughter.  The film stars the comedy duo of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and was directed by J.B. Rodgers and Bobby Farrelly.  The movie has not fared very well with critics in its first two weeks, with many saying that its brand of humor is not as fun and fresh as it used to be. [11]

 The first Dumb and Dumber was wildly successful for Universal, snagging over $247 million worldwide. It’s prequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd was a huge box office flop, earning just over $39 million.  Universal has commonly found success in sequels and film franchises. Dumb and Dumber To opened on November 14, 2014 in 3,154 theaters with an opening revenue of just over $36 million, giving it the #1 spot for the weekend.  Thus far the film has made $67 million in the U.S. and $20 million in the international box office, adding up for a total of almost $88 million. [12] 

What’s Next From Universal Pictures

Fifty Shades of Grey

50 shades of gay

50 Shades of Grey [13]  

Based on the wildly popular  romance novel of the same name, Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of the masochistic relationship between a wealthy business man and one of his young female employees.  The movie stars James Dornan and Dakota Johnson and is directed by Sam Taylor-Wood. The Focus Features film has completed production, and it set to make its wide release on February 13, 2015. [13]

 

 

 

Jurassic World

Jurassic_World

Jurassic World  [14] 

Universal hopes to continue its trend of successful sequels and film franchises with Jurassic World, the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park series.  It will be starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, with Colin Trevorrow as director and Steven Spielberg as executive producer.  The film has been in development since 2001, and was originally set to be called Jurassic Park IV.  Shooting began last April in locations such as Hawaii and New Orleans.  The movie is currently in post-production and editing, and is set to release on June 12, 2015. [14] 

Warcraft

 

warcraft-poster1

Warcraft Poster  [15]  

In 2016, Universal will be adapting a video game to film for the first time in its history.  Based on World of Warcraft, an immensely popular online gaming program, Warcraft is set to be an epic fantasy tale of good versus evil.  The film has been in development since 2006 and is currently in production.  British film star Toby Kebbel and Paula Patton have been casted as two of the lead roles. The movie will have its wide release on March 11, 2016. [15]  

 

 

Steve Jobs Biography Film

On November 25, 2014, Universal bought the rights from Sony Corporation to produce a biography film on Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs.  It all be based on a biography by author Walter Isaacson entitled “Steve Jobs”. [16] 

 

References

[1] http://www.history.com/news/the-renegade-roots-of-hollywood-studios

 [2] http://deadline.com/2013/09/shocker-adam-fogelson-out-in-universal-shakeup-582309/

[3]http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/studio-smackdown-2013-warner-bros-668302

 [4] http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/news/109124-universal-pictures-crosses-2b-mark-at-the-overseas-box-office-for-the-first-time

[5] http://www.hoovers.com/company-information/cs/competition.Universal_Studios_Inc.7a0e7231fca927ed.html

[6] http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/08/technology/netflix_starz_contract/

[7] http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/neighbors_2014/

[8] http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=townies.htm

 [9] http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_purge_anarchy_2014/?search=the%20purge%20anarchy

[10] http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=purge2.htm

 [11] http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dumb_and_dumber_to/

 [12] http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=dumberto.htm

[13] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2322441/

[14] http://www.jurassicworld.org

[15] http://www.warcraft-themovie.com

[16] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-25/universal-pictures-acquires-jobs-film-from-sony-corp.html

 [17] http://www.universalpictures.com

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