Universal Pictures crosses $2 billion at intl box office

MUMBAI: 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.This worldwide box-office total indicates an increase of 23 per cent over 2006‘s $1.7 billion.

Universal achieved its best-ever year in the US 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. Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger and co-chairman David Linde said,
"2007 was a real turnaround year for Universal. 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."

Five Universal films that crossed more than $100 million in the US were 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.

Abroad Universal Pictures International (UPI) 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 galvanised 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.

Focus Features also had a strong year with Atonement becoming one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Other critically acclaimed films were Eastern Promises, which releases this weekend in India, and Lust, Caution.

Universal‘s home video division generated nearly $2.7 billion in consumer spend in the US alone. The success was fuelled in large part by the performances of The Bourne Ultimatum and Knocked Up which were the two highest-selling DVDs of the year.

Universal adds that its slate for this year 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; director Timur Bekmambetov‘s thriller Wanted starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie; Mamma Mia!, the film adaptation of the stage musical starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried; director Clint Eastwood‘s thriller Changeling, produced by Brian Grazer and starring Angelina Jolie.

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