Universal Celebrates 100 Years by Breaking Records
Universal Studios has recorded its best year ever at the domestic box office, making $1.128 billion so far in 2012. This total surpasses the $1.127 billion record set by the studio in 2008. The studio is also expected to top its record for world ticket sales and is still set to release four more pictures this year that will add to its total both domestically and internationally. The following movies have shaped the record-breaking year Universal has enjoyed to this point.
“Safe House,” an action thriller starring Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, and Vera Farminga, made an estimated $126 million at the domestic box office. It had an estimated budget of $85 million. Those are pretty solid numbers considering Universal released the movie in February. The film made around $40 million on its opening weekend. This scored it a second-place finish at the box office, just behind “The Vow.” The film received mixed reviews from critics, but Universal managed to get enough people interested in the film to score good box office returns.
“Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” also received mixed reviews from critics. However, this animated movie was a huge success at the box office, earning $214 million dollars. A strong cast of voice actors, including Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Ed Helms, and Taylor Swift, helped the film’s success. It scored a surprising opening weekend of $70.7 million dollars, thanks in large part to strong word of mouth from parents who took their kids to see the film shortly after its release. Even though reviews were generally tepid, children loved the film and helped Universal score one of the biggest hits of the year.
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
Universal scored another hit with “Snow White and the Huntsman.” The film starred Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron and made Universal $155 million. Another Snow White film from earlier in the year, “Mirror Mirror,” disappointed at the box office. However, the darker take on the fairy tale seemed to resonate more with audiences. Universal took a gamble and spent an estimated $170 million on “Snow White and the Huntsman.” The worldwide box office of the film was strong enough to make it a success for the studio. In addition to its U.S. total, the film made $241 million in the foreign box office, making for a total of $396 million.
Universal’s biggest hit of the year was “Ted.” lam bang dai hoc story of a grown man and his teddy bear who has magically come to life has been popular with audiences. Universal released the movie in June 2011, and it made $54 million on its opening weekend. A few months later, the film still played in 225 theaters, so its box office of total of $218 million will continue to rise, if only slightly. Seth MacFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy,” “American Dad,” and “The Cleveland Show” directed the film. The movie starred MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, and Mila Kunis. The comedy, which features strong language and content that might be offensive to some, gave Universal a chance to reach a completely different segment of the population than “The Lorax,”
“Battleship” was the studio’s biggest disappointment of the year. It cost an estimated $209 million dollars to produce and made only $65 million at the domestic box office. The previously mentioned films, however, made up for “Battleships” failure. Other films released by Universal include “American Reunion,” “Contraband,” “The Bourne Legacy,” “Savages,” and “Big Miracle.” These films combined to bring in around $300 million more for the studio.
Universal released four films in the closing months of the year. Anna Kendrick starred in “Pitch Perfect,” a comedy about an all-girls a cappella group. The martial arts film “The Man with the Iron Fists” hit theaters in November.
Universal closed out the year by releasing Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” spinoff “This is 40” and “Les Miserables” which was released on Christmas day. “Knocked Up” made $148 million at the box office, which should give Universal hope of strong numbers for “This is 40.” Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper directed “Les Miserables.” The musical also features stars Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfreid, Russel Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen.