Universal Pictures Breaks Own Records in 2007

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Universal Pictures released the following announcement saying that the studio posted its biggest domestic and global box office ever in 2007:

In 2007, Universal Pictures set a new box-office record in the nearly 100-year history of the studio with global theatrical grosses totalling $2.133 billion for the year. Universal achieved its best-ever year at the domestic box office with $1.099 billion, and its best performance since 2001 at the international box office with $1.034 billion. Combined with best-ever fiscal performances from its domestic home entertainment and international television operations, Universal Pictures achieved its most profitable year of all time. These accomplishments were announced today by Marc Shmuger and David Linde, Chairman and Co-Chairman, respectively, of Universal Pictures.

“2007 was a real turnaround year for Universal,” stated Shmuger and Linde jointly. “Our studio ended this year at a level of success that exceeds even what we had imagined. What’s especially fulfilling is this record didn’t result from one or two home runs that saved the bottom line, but from a diversity of successes, and that’s emblematic of how Universal works. We made hits from a mix of established action franchises, original comedies and challenging dramas; we succeeded with filmmakers with whom we have long histories and new talents with whom we are just starting relationships; we created movies that captivated audiences around the world and ones that represented the best in artistic quality — and in some cases, did both of those at once. What all these successes have in common are the people at Universal who produced, marketed and distributed these films. The Universal team is the finest in the business and their passion, dedication, innovation and belief led to this wonderfully successful year.”

Ron Meyer, President and COO, Universal Studios, added, “This was the first full year for the studio under the stewardship of Marc and David, and the success realized under their leadership speaks for itself. This level of accomplishment in every area is remarkable. I couldn’t be more proud of the leadership at the studio and of everyone at Universal around the world who contributed to this.”

Universal Beats Its Own Record at Domestic Box Office

Universal Pictures reached its all-time biggest success at the domestic box office in 2007, accumulating $1.099 billion by year’s end. Helping to propel the studio to this record were five films that each crossed more than $100 million domestically — “Knocked Up”, “Evan Almighty”, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”, “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “American Gangster”. 2007’s annual tally represents a significant uptick from 2006, when the studio’s domestic gross was $799 million.

With $227.5 million, “The Bourne Ultimatum” was the studio’s top domestic earner. The third entry in the Bourne franchise grossed over $50 million more than the last installment, 2004’s “The Bourne Supremacy”, and landed on many year-end Top Ten lists. “The Bourne Ultimatum” was the third film at the studio by OscarĀ®-nominated director Paul Greengrass, who is beginning work on his fourth feature for Universal in early 2008.

Universal/Imagine Entertainment’s “American Gangster”, which collected more than $129.2 million, was easily the year’s most successful drama and also one of its most honored, with Best Picture nominations from the Golden Globe Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards, along with multiple acting nominations, including SAG’s Best Ensemble Award. Universal is excited to reunite with director Ridley Scott, producer Brian Grazer and star Russell Crowe in the production of “Nottingham”, beginning in 2008.

“Knocked Up” continued Universal’s tradition of turning R-rated comedies into mainstream hits, becoming the most successful entry in that genre this year with $148.8 million. “Knocked Up” also was well represented on multiple Top Ten lists and was honored as one of the Best Films of the Year by the American Film Institute. Judd Apatow has directed both of his hit comedy films at Universal and, in 2008, produces “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, which the studio will release in May.

Universal’s December release “Charlie Wilson’s War” also performed well over the year-end holiday season, making a rare 24% jump at the box office in its second weekend of release. The film earned more Golden Globe nominations than any other big studio film, with five notices in the categories of Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), Best Actor (Comedy/Musical) for Tom Hanks, Best Supporting Actress (Comedy/Musical) for Julia Roberts, Best Supporting Actress (Comedy/Musical) for Philip Seymour Hoffman and Best Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin.

Universal Pictures International Has Strong First Year

Universal Pictures International was officially launched in January, 2007, as an independent distribution entity and enjoyed a successful first year, crossing the $1 billion threshold earlier than ever before (when it was part of the joint venture UIP) and reaching a year-end international gross of more than $1.034 billion, its best in six years.

UPI’s buoyant year at the box office was galvanized by global blockbusters like “The Bourne Ultimatum”, which earned more than $213 million at the international box office, and international successes like “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” ($192 million), “Hot Fuzz” ($56.8 million) and “The Holiday” ($72.3 million).

Combining domestic and international box office together, Universal Pictures’ worldwide box office total for 2007 was $2.133 billion, an increase of 23% over 2006’s $1.7 billion.

Focus Features Maintains Industry Leadership for Quality

Focus Features also recorded a standout year and retained its industry position as the leading home for the highest quality in cinema. Focus released Working Title’s “Atonement”, which has become one of the most acclaimed films of the year and cemented director Joe Wright as one of the most exciting talents to emerge recently. “Atonement” received more Golden Globe nominations than any other film, with seven, including: Best Picture (Drama), Best Actor (Drama) for James McAvoy, Best Actress (Drama) for Keira Knightley, Best Director for Joe Wright, Best Supporting Actress for Saoirse Ronan, Best Screenplay for Christopher Hampton and Best Score for Dario Marianelli.

Focus received a total of 11 Golden Globe nominations, the most for any studio, as it also earned notices for “Eastern Promises” and “Lust, Caution”. “Eastern Promises” won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival; its lead actor, Viggo Mortensen, has been cited by multiple critics’ groups, and earned nominations from the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards and the SAG Awards. “Lust, Caution”, directed by Ang Lee, won Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival and has earned nominations as Best Foreign Language Film by the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards and multiple regional critics’ groups.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment Posts Strong Results

Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) enjoyed an exceptional year, generating nearly $2.7 billion in consumer spend in the U.S. alone. The success was fueled in large part by the blockbuster performances of “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “Knocked Up”, USHE’s two highest-selling DVDs of the year, respectively. USHE is well poised to continue its upward momentum into 2008 as it readies the DVD releases of such critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated films as “American Gangster”, “Atonement” and “Charlie Wilson’s War”, all of which will debut in the coming months.

Looking to the Future

Universal’s motion picture slate for 2008 continues to represent a diverse blend of genres, star vehicles, franchise event fims, comedies and stories of personal empowerment, including “Leatherheads”, directed by George Clooney and starring Clooney, Renee Zellweger and John Krasinski; producer Judd Apatow’s romantic disaster comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”; Marvel Studios’ “The Incredible Hulk”, starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler and William Hurt; “Baby Mama”, a comedy starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler; director Timur Bekmambetov’s thriller “Wanted”, starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie; “Doomsday”, a Rogue Pictures release directed by Neil Marshall; director Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy adventure sequel, “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”; “Mamma Mia!”, the film adaptation of the global smash hit stage musical starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried; the sports drama “The Express”, starring Dennis Quaid and Rob Brown; director Clint Eastwood’s thriller “Changeling”, produced by Brian Grazer and starring Angelina Jolie; and “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”, director Rob Cohen’s continuation of the global adventure franchise starring Brendan Fraser and Jet Li.

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