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Universal Pictures

universal pictures, universal pictures logo
Universal Pictures also referred to as Universal Studios or simply Universal is an American film studio owned by Comcast through the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group division of its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal1 The company was founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, Robert H Cochrane, and Jules Brulatour, and is the oldest surviving film studio in the United States, the world's fourth oldest after Gaumont, Pathé and Nordisk Film, and the oldest in terms of the overall film marketcitation needed Its studios are located in Universal City, California, and its corporate offices are located in New York City Universal Pictures is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America MPAA and is one of Hollywood's "Big Six" studios


  • 1 History
    • 11 Early years
    • 12 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
    • 13 Keeping leadership of the studio in the family
    • 14 The Laemmles lose control
    • 15 Universal-International and Decca Records takes control
    • 16 MCA takes over
    • 17 Matsushita, Seagram, Vivendi and NBCUniversal
    • 18 Comcast era 2011–present
  • 2 Universal Productions France
  • 3 Production deals
  • 4 Units
  • 5 Film library
    • 51 Film series
    • 52 Highest-grossing films
  • 6 See also
  • 7 Notes
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


Early yearsedit

Carl Laemmle Mark Dintenfass, co-founder of Universal

Universal Studios was founded by Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, Robert H Cochranea and Jules Brulatour One story has Laemmle watching a box office for hours, counting patrons and calculating the day's takings Within weeks of his Chicago trip, Laemmle gave up dry goods to buy the first several nickelodeons For Laemmle and other such entrepreneurs, the creation in 1908 of the Edison-backed Motion Picture Trust meant that exhibitors were expected to pay fees for Trust-produced films they showed Based on the Latham Loop used in cameras and projectors, along with other patents, the Trust collected fees on all aspects of movie production and exhibition, and attempted to enforce a monopoly on distribution

Soon, Laemmle and other disgruntled nickelodeon owners decided to avoid paying Edison by producing their own pictures In June 1909, Laemmle started the Yankee Film Company with partners Abe Stern and Julius Stern That company quickly evolved into the Independent Moving Pictures Company IMP, with studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where many early films in America's first motion picture industry were produced in the early 20th century3456 Laemmle broke with Edison's custom of refusing to give billing and screen credits to performers By naming the movie stars, he attracted many of the leading players of the time, contributing to the creation of the star system In 1910, he promoted Florence Lawrence, formerly known as "The Biograph Girl", and actor King Baggot, in what may be the first instance of a studio using stars in its marketing

Poster for Ivanhoe 1913

The Universal Film Manufacturing Company was incorporated in New York on April 30, 19127 Laemmle, who emerged as president in July 1912, was the primary figure in the partnership with Dintenfass, Baumann, Kessel, Powers, Swanson, Horsley, and Brulatour Eventually all would be bought out by Laemmle The new Universal studio was a vertically integrated company, with movie production, distribution and exhibition venues all linked in the same corporate entity, the central element of the Studio system era

Play media Melodrama A Great Love 1916 by Clifford S Elfelt for Universal Big U Dutch intertitles, 12:33 Collection EYE Film Institute Netherlands

Following the westward trend of the industry, by the end of 1912 the company was focusing its production efforts in the Hollywood area

On March 15, 1915,8:8 Laemmle opened the world's largest motion picture production facility, Universal City Studios, on a 230-acre 09-km² converted farm just over the Cahuenga Pass from Hollywood Studio management became the third facet of Universal's operations, with the studio incorporated as a distinct subsidiary organization Unlike other movie moguls, Laemmle opened his studio to tourists Universal became the largest studio in Hollywood, and remained so for a decade However, it sought an audience mostly in small towns, producing mostly inexpensive melodramas, westerns and serials

In its early years Universal released three brands of feature films — Red Feather, low-budget programmers; Bluebird, more ambitious productions; and Jewel, their prestige motion pictures Directors included Jack Conway, John Ford, Rex Ingram, Robert Z Leonard, George Marshall and Lois Weber, one of the few women directing films in Hollywood8:13

Despite Laemmle's role as an innovator, he was an extremely cautious studio chief Unlike rivals Adolph Zukor, William Fox, and Marcus Loew, Laemmle chose not to develop a theater chain He also financed all of his own films, refusing to take on debt This policy nearly bankrupted the studio when actor-director Erich von Stroheim insisted on excessively lavish production values for his films Blind Husbands 1919 and Foolish Wives 1922, but Universal shrewdly gained a return on some of the expenditure by launching a sensational ad campaign that attracted moviegoers Character actor Lon Chaney became a drawing card for Universal in the 1920s, appearing steadily in dramas His two biggest hits for Universal were The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 and The Phantom of the Opera 1925 During this period Laemmle entrusted most of the production policy decisions to Irving Thalberg Thalberg had been Laemmle's personal secretary, and Laemmle was impressed by his cogent observations of how efficiently the studio could be operated Promoted to studio chief, Thalberg was giving Universal's product a touch of class, but MGM's head of production Louis B Mayer lured Thalberg away from Universal with a promise of better pay Without his guidance Universal became a second-tier studio, and would remain so for several decades

In 1926, Universal opened a production unit in Germany, Deutsche Universal-Film AG, under the direction of Joe Pasternak This unit produced three to four films per year until 1936, migrating to Hungary and then Austria in the face of Hitler's increasing domination of central Europe With the advent of sound, these productions were made in the German language or, occasionally, Hungarian or Polish In the US, Universal Pictures did not distribute any of this subsidiary's films, but at least some of them were exhibited through other, independent, foreign-language film distributors based in New York, without benefit of English subtitles Nazi persecution and a change in ownership for the parent Universal Pictures organization resulted in the dissolution of this subsidiary

In the early years, Universal had a "clean picture" policy However, by April 1927, Carl Laemmle considered this to be a mistake as "unclean pictures" from other studios were generating more profit while Universal was losing money9

Oswald the Lucky Rabbitedit

Universal owned the rights to the "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" character, although Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks had created Oswald, and their films had enjoyed a successful theatrical run After Charles Mintz had unsuccessfully demanded that Disney accept a lower fee for producing the property, Mintz produced the films with his own group of animators Instead, Disney and Iwerks created Mickey Mouse, who in 1928 starred in the first "sync" sound animated short, Steamboat Willie This moment effectively launched Walt Disney Studios' foothold, while Universal became a minor player in film animation Universal subsequently severed its link to Mintz and formed its own in-house animation studio to produce Oswald cartoons headed by Walter Lantz

In 2006, after almost 80 years, NBC Universal sold all Walt Disney-produced Oswald cartoons, along with the rights to the character himself, back to Disney In return, Disney released ABC sportscaster Al Michaels from his contract so he could work on NBC's Sunday night NFL football package However, Universal retained ownership of Oswald cartoons produced for them by Walter Lantz from 1929 to 1943

Keeping leadership of the studio in the familyedit

Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein 1935

In 1928, Laemmle, Sr made his son, Carl, Jr head of Universal Pictures as a 21st birthday present Universal already had a reputation for nepotism—at one time, 70 of Carl, Sr's relatives were supposedly on the payroll Many of them were nephews, resulting in Carl, Sr being known around the studios as "Uncle Carl" Ogden Nash famously quipped in rhyme, "Uncle Carl Laemmle/Has a very large faemmle" Among these relatives was future Academy Award winning director/producer William Wyler

"Junior" Laemmle persuaded his father to bring Universal up to date He bought and built theaters, converted the studio to sound production, and made several forays into high-quality production His early efforts included the critically panned part-talkie version of Edna Ferber's novel Show Boat 1929, the lavish musical Broadway 1929 which included Technicolor sequences; and the first all-color musical feature for Universal, King of Jazz 1930 The more serious All Quiet on the Western Front 1930, won its year's Best Picture Oscar

Laemmle, Jr created a niche for the studio, beginning a series of horror films which extended into the 1940s, affectionately dubbed Universal Horror Among them are Frankenstein 1931, Dracula 1931, The Mummy 1932 and The Invisible Man 1933 Other Laemmle productions of this period include Imitation of Life 1934 and My Man Godfrey 1936

The Laemmles lose controledit

Universal's forays into high-quality production spelled the end of the Laemmle era at the studio Taking on the task of modernizing and upgrading a film conglomerate in the depths of the depression was risky, and for a time Universal slipped into receivership The theater chain was scrapped, but Carl, Jr held fast to distribution, studio and production operations

The end for the Laemmles came with a lavish version of Show Boat 1936, a remake of its earlier 1929 part-talkie production, and produced as a high-quality, big-budget film rather than as a B-picture The new film featured several stars from the Broadway stage version, which began production in late 1935, and unlike the 1929 film was based on the Broadway musical rather than the novel Carl, Jr's spending habits alarmed company stockholders They would not allow production to start on Show Boat unless the Laemmles obtained a loan Universal was forced to seek a $750,000 production loan from the Standard Capital Corporation, pledging the Laemmle family's controlling interest in Universal as collateral It was the first time Universal had borrowed money for a production in its 26-year history The production went $300,000 over budget; Standard called in the loan, cash-strapped Universal could not pay, Standard foreclosed and seized control of the studio on April 2, 1936

Although Universal's 1936 Show Boat released a little over a month later became a critical and financial success, it was not enough to save the Laemmles' involvement with the studio They were unceremoniously removed from the company they had founded Because the Laemmles personally oversaw production, Show Boat was released despite the takeover with Carl Laemmle and Carl Laemmle Jr's names on the credits and in the advertising campaign of the film Standard Capital's J Cheever Cowdin had taken over as president and chairman of the board of directors, and instituted severe cuts in production budgets Gone were the big ambitions, and though Universal had a few big names under contract, those it had been cultivating, like William Wyler and Margaret Sullavan, left

Meanwhile, producer Joe Pasternak, who had been successfully producing light musicals with young sopranos for Universal's German subsidiary, repeated his formula in America Teenage singer Deanna Durbin starred in Pasternak's first American film, Three Smart Girls 1936 The film was a box-office hit and reputedly resolved the studio's financial problems The success of the film led Universal to offer her a contract, which for the first five years of her career produced her most successful pictures

James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again 1939

When Pasternak stopped producing Durbin's pictures, and she outgrew her screen persona and pursued more dramatic roles, the studio signed 13-year-old Gloria Jean for her own series of Pasternak musicals from 1939; she went on to star with Bing Crosby, W C Fields, and Donald O'Connor A popular Universal film of the late 1930s was Destry Rides Again 1939, starring James Stewart as Destry and Marlene Dietrich in her comeback role after leaving Paramount Studios

By the early 1940s, the company was concentrating on lower-budget productions that were the company's main staple: westerns, melodramas, serials and sequels to the studio's horror pictures, the latter now solely B pictures The studio fostered many series: The Dead End Kids and Little Tough Guys action features and serials 1938–43; the comic adventures of infant Baby Sandy 1938–41; comedies with Hugh Herbert 1938–42 and The Ritz Brothers 1940–43; musicals with Robert Paige, Jane Frazee, The Andrews Sisters, and The Merry Macs 1938–45; and westerns with Tom Mix 1932–33, Buck Jones 1933–36, Bob Baker 1938–39, Johnny Mack Brown 1938–43; Rod Cameron 1944–45, and Kirby Grant 1946–47

Universal could seldom afford its own stable of stars, and often borrowed talent from other studios, or hired freelance actors In addition to Stewart and Dietrich, Margaret Sullavan, and Bing Crosby were two of the major names that made a couple of pictures for Universal during this period Some stars came from radio, including Edgar Bergen, W C Fields, and the comedy team of Abbott and Costello Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Abbott and Costello's military comedy Buck Privates 1941 gave the former burlesque comedians a national and international profile

During the war years Universal did have a co-production arrangement with producer Walter Wanger and his partner, director Fritz Lang, lending the studio some amount of prestige productions Universal's core audience base was still found in the neighborhood movie theaters, and the studio continued to please the public with low- to medium-budget films Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in new Sherlock Holmes mysteries 1942–46, teenage musicals with Gloria Jean, Donald O'Connor, and Peggy Ryan 1942–43, and screen adaptations of radio's Inner Sanctum Mysteries with Lon Chaney, Jr 1943–45 Alfred Hitchcock was also borrowed for two films from Selznick International Pictures: Saboteur 1942 and Shadow of a Doubt 1943

As Universal's main product had always been low-budget film, it was one of the last major studios to have a contract with Technicolor The studio did not make use of the three-strip Technicolor process until Arabian Nights 1942, starring Jon Hall and Maria Montez The following year, Technicolor was also used in Universal's remake of their 1925 horror melodrama, Phantom of the Opera with Claude Rains and Nelson Eddy With the success of their first two pictures, a regular schedule of high-budget, Technicolor films followed

Universal-International and Decca Records takes controledit

In 1945, the British entrepreneur J Arthur Rank, hoping to expand his American presence, bought into a four-way merger with Universal, the independent company International Pictures, and producer Kenneth Young The new combine, United World Pictures, was a failure and was dissolved within one year Rank and International remained interested in Universal, however, culminating in the studio's reorganization as Universal-International William Goetz, a founder of International, was made head of production at the renamed Universal-International Pictures Inc, which also served as an import-export subsidiary, and copyright holder for the production arm's films Goetz, a son-in-law of Louis B Mayer decided to bring "prestige" to the new company He stopped the studio's low-budget production of B movies, serials and curtailed Universal's horror and "Arabian Nights" cycles Distribution and copyright control remained under the name of Universal Pictures Company Inc

Play media Universal-International Studio, 1955

Goetz set out an ambitious schedule Universal-International became responsible for the American distribution of Rank's British productions, including such classics as David Lean's Great Expectations 1946 and Laurence Olivier's Hamlet 1948 Broadening its scope further, Universal-International branched out into the lucrative non-theatrical field, buying a majority stake in home-movie dealer Castle Films in 1947, and taking the company over entirely in 1951 For three decades, Castle would offer "highlights" reels from the Universal film library to home-movie enthusiasts and collectors Goetz licensed Universal's pre–Universal-International film library to Jack Broeder's Realart Pictures for cinema re-release but Realart was not allowed to show the films on television

The production arm of the studio still struggled While there were to be a few hits like The Killers 1946 and The Naked City 1948, Universal-International's new theatrical films often met with disappointing response at the box office By the late 1940s, Goetz was out, and the studio returned to low-budget films The inexpensive Francis 1950, the first film of a series about a talking mule and Ma and Pa Kettle 1949, part of a series, became mainstays of the company Once again, the films of Abbott and Costello, including Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 1948, were among the studio's top-grossing productions But at this point Rank lost interest and sold his shares to the investor Milton Rackmil, whose Decca Records would take full control of Universal in 1952 Besides Abbott and Costello, the studio retained the Walter Lantz cartoon studio, whose product was released with Universal-International's films

In the 1950s, Universal-International resumed their series of Arabian Nights films, many starring Tony Curtis The studio also had a success with monster and science fiction films produced by William Alland, with many directed by Jack Arnold Other successes were the melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk and produced by Ross Hunter, although for film critics they were not so well thought of on first release as they have since become Among Universal-International's stable of stars were Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Jeff Chandler, Audie Murphy, and John Gavin

Though Decca would continue to keep picture budgets lean, it was favored by changing circumstances in the film business, as other studios let their contract actors go in the wake of the 1948 US vs Paramount Pictures, et al decision Leading actors were increasingly free to work where and when they chose, and in 1950 MCA agent Lew Wasserman made a deal with Universal for his client James Stewart that would change the rules of the business Wasserman's deal gave Stewart a share in the profits of three pictures in lieu of a large salary When one of those films, Winchester '73, proved to be a hit, the arrangement would become the rule for many future productions at Universal, and eventually at other studios as well

MCA takes overedit

Ceremonial gate to Universal Studios Hollywood the theme park attached to the studio lot

By the late 1950s, the motion picture business was again changing The combination of the studio/theater-chain break-up and the rise of television saw the reduced audience size for cinema productions The Music Corporation of America MCA, the world's largest talent agency, had also become a powerful television producer, renting space at Republic Studios for its Revue Productions subsidiary After a period of complete shutdown, a moribund Universal agreed to sell its 360-acre 15 km² studio lot to MCA in 1958, for $11 million, renamed Revue Studios MCA owned the studio lot, but not Universal Pictures, yet was increasingly influential on Universal's product The studio lot was upgraded and modernized, while MCA clients like Doris Day, Lana Turner, Cary Grant, and director Alfred Hitchcock were signed to Universal Pictures contracts

The long-awaited takeover of Universal Pictures by MCA, Inc happened in mid-1962 as part of the MCA-Decca Records merger The company reverted in name to Universal Pictures As a final gesture before leaving the talent agency business, virtually every MCA client was signed to a Universal contract In 1964 MCA formed Universal City Studios, Inc, merging the motion pictures and television arms of Universal Pictures Company and Revue Productions officially renamed as Universal Television in 1966 And so, with MCA in charge, Universal became a full-blown, A-film movie studio, with leading actors and directors under contract; offering slick, commercial films; and a studio tour subsidiary launched in 1964

Television production made up much of the studio's output, with Universal heavily committed, in particular, to deals with NBC which later merged with Universal to form NBC Universal; see below providing up to half of all prime time shows for several seasons An innovation during this period championed by Universal was the made-for-television movie In 1982, Universal became the studio base for many shows that were produced by Norman Lear's Tandem Productions/Embassy Television, including Diff'rent Strokes, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, The Facts of Life, and Silver Spoons which premiered on NBC that same fall

At this time, Hal B Wallis, who had latterly worked as a major producer at Paramount, moved over to Universal, where he produced several films, among them a lavish version of Maxwell Anderson's Anne of the Thousand Days 1969, and the equally lavish Mary, Queen of Scots 1971 Though neither could claim to be a big financial hit, both films received Academy Award nominations, and Anne was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor Richard Burton, Best Actress Geneviève Bujold, and Best Supporting Actor Anthony Quayle Wallis retired from Universal after making the film Rooster Cogburn 1975, a sequel to True Grit 1969, which Wallis had produced at Paramount Rooster Cogburn co-starred John Wayne, reprising his Oscar-winning role from the earlier film, and Katharine Hepburn, their only film together The film was only a moderate success

In the early 1970s, Universal teamed up with Paramount to form Cinema International Corporation, which distributed films by Paramount and Universal outside of the US and Canada Though Universal did produce occasional hits, among them Airport 1970, The Sting 1973, American Graffiti also 1973, Earthquake 1974, and a big box-office success which restored the company's fortunes: Jaws 1975, Universal during the decade was primarily a television studio When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer purchased United Artists in 1981, MGM could not drop out of the CIC venture to merge with United Artists overseas operations However, with future film productions from both names being released through the MGM/UA Entertainment plate, CIC decided to merge UA's international units with MGM and reformed as United International Pictures There would be other film hits like ET the Extra-Terrestrial 1982, Back to the Future 1985, Field of Dreams 1989, and Jurassic Park 1993, but the film business was financially unpredictable UIP began distributing films by start-up studio DreamWorks in 1997, due to connections the founders have with Paramount, Universal, and Amblin Entertainment In 2001, MGM dropped out of the UIP venture, and went with 20th Century Fox's international arm to handle distribution of their titles to this day

Matsushita, Seagram, Vivendi and NBCUniversaledit

Gate 2, Universal Studios as it appears when closed on weekends

Anxious to expand the company's broadcast and cable presence, longtime MCA head Lew Wasserman sought a rich partner He located Japanese electronics manufacturer Matsushita Electric now known as Panasonic, which agreed to acquire MCA for $66 billion in 1990

Matsushita provided a cash infusion, but the clash of cultures was too great to overcome, and five years later Matsushita sold an 80% stake in MCA/Universal to Canadian drinks distributor Seagram for $57 billion10 Seagram sold off its stake in DuPont to fund this expansion into the entertainment industry Hoping to build an entertainment empire around Universal, Seagram bought PolyGram in 1999 and other entertainment properties, but the fluctuating profits characteristic of Hollywood were no substitute for the reliable income stream gained from the previously held shares in DuPont

To raise money, Seagram head Edgar Bronfman Jr sold Universal's television holdings, including cable network USA, to Barry Diller these same properties would be bought back later at greatly inflated prices In June 2000, Seagram was sold to French water utility and media company Vivendi, which owned StudioCanal; the conglomerate then became known as Vivendi Universal Afterward, Universal Pictures acquired the United States distribution rights of several of StudioCanal's films, such as Mulholland Drive which received an Oscar nomination and Brotherhood of the Wolf which became the second-highest-grossing French language film in the United States since 1980 Universal Pictures and StudioCanal also co-produced several films, such as Love Actually an $40 million-budgeted film that eventually grossed $246 million worldwide11 In late 2000, the New York Film Academy was permitted to use the Universal Studios backlot for student film projects in an unofficial partnership12

Burdened with debt, in 2004 Vivendi Universal sold 80% of Vivendi Universal Entertainment including the studio and theme parks to General Electric, parent of NBC The resulting media super-conglomerate was renamed NBCUniversal, while Universal Studios Inc remained the name of the production subsidiary After that deal, GE owned 80% of NBC Universal; Vivendi held the remaining 20%, with an option to sell its share in 2006

In late 2005, Viacom's Paramount Pictures acquired DreamWorks SKG after acquisition talks between GE and DreamWorks stalled Universal's long time chairperson, Stacey Snider, left the company in early 2006 to head up DreamWorks Snider was replaced by then-Vice Chairman Marc Shmuger and Focus Features head David Linde On October 5, 2009, Marc Shmuger and David Linde were ousted and their co-chairperson jobs consolidated under former president of worldwide marketing and distribution Adam Fogelson becoming the single chairperson Donna Langley was also upped to co-chairperson13 In 2009, Stephanie Sperber founded Universal Partnerships & Licensing within Universal to license consumer products for Universal14

GE purchased Vivendi's share in NBCUniversal in 201115

Comcast era 2011–presentedit

Gate 3 with signs for KNBC and Telemundo

GE sold 51% of the company to cable provider Comcast in 2011 Comcast merged the former GE subsidiary with its own cable-television programming assets, creating the current NBCUniversal Following Federal Communications Commission FCC approval, the Comcast-GE deal was closed on Jan 29, 201116 In March 2013, Comcast bought the remaining 49% of NBCUniversal for $167 billion1

In September 2013, Adam Fogelson was ousted as co-chairman of Universal Pictures, promoting Donna Langley to sole-chairman In addition, NBCUniversal International Chairman, Jeff Shell, would be appointed as Chairman of the newly created Filmed Entertainment Group Longtime studio head Ron Meyer would give up oversight of the film studio and appointed Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal, providing consultation to CEO Steve Burke on all of the company's operations Meyers still retains oversight of Universal Parks and Resorts

Universal's multi-year film financing deal with Elliott Management expired in 201317 In summer 2013, Universal made an agreement with Thomas Tull's Legendary Pictures to distribute their films for five years starting in 2014 the year that Legendary's similar agreement with Warner Bros Pictures ends18

In June 2014, Universal Partnerships took over licensing consumer products for NBC and Sprout with expectation that all licensing would eventually be centralized within NBCUniversal14 In May 2015, Gramercy Pictures was revived by Focus Features as a genre label, that concentrated on action, sci-fi, and horror films19

On December 16, 2015, Amblin Partners announced that it entered into a five-year distribution deal with Universal Pictures by which the films will be distributed and marketed by either Universal or Focus Features2021 It's unknown whether Focus Features' subsidiaries Gramercy Pictures and Focus World will distribute any films in the deal

In early 2016, Perfect World Pictures announced a long term co-financing deal with Universal, which represents the first time a Chinese company directly invest in a multi-year slate deal with a major US studio22

On April 28, 2016, Universal's parent company announced a $38 billion deal to buy DreamWorks Animation23 On August 22, 2016, the deal was completed24 Universal will take over the distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation starting in 2019 with the release of How to Train Your Dragon 3, after DreamWorks Animation's distribution deal with 20th Century Fox ends

On February 15, 2017, Universal Pictures acquired a minority stake in Amblin Partners, strengthening the relationship between Universal and Amblin,25 and reuniting a minority percentage of the DreamWorks Pictures label with DreamWorks Animation

Universal Productions Franceedit

In the early 1950s, Universal set up its own distribution company in France, and in the late 1960s, the company also started a production company in Paris, Universal Productions France SA, although sometimes credited by the name of the distribution company, Universal Pictures France Except for the two first films it produced, Claude Chabrol's Le scandale English title The Champagne Murders and Romain Gary's Les oiseaux vont mourir au Pérou English title Birds in Peru, it was only involved in French or other European co-productions, the most noticeable ones being Louis Malle's Lacombe, Lucien, Bertrand Blier's Les Valseuses English title Going Places, and Fred Zinnemann's The Day of the Jackal It was only involved in approximately 20 French film productions In the early 1970s, the unit was incorporated into the French Cinema International Corporation arm

Production dealsedit

Active distribution/producer deals

  • Apatow Productions
  • Lava Bear Films 2011- David Linde
  • Film 44 - Peter Berg
  • Imagine Entertainment 1989-262728
  • Legendary Pictures 2014-29
  • Media Rights Capital 2010-30
  • Fuzzy Door Productions 2012-
  • Silver Pictures 2012-31
    • Dark Castle Entertainment
  • Will Packer Productions 2013-32
  • Blumhouse Productions 2014-33
  • Amblin Partners2021
    • Amblin Entertainment 1981-
    • DreamWorks Pictures 2016-2021
  • Perfect World Pictures22
  • ImageMovers 2011-
  • GKIDS 2014-
  • Laika
  • Open Road Films
  • STX Entertainment

Former distribution deals

  • Lucasfilm 1973- 1994
  • Morgan Creek Productions product 2003-2011 34
  • Cross Creek Pictures 2011-2014

Former producer deals

  • Relativity Media 2006-2015


  • Universal Television
    • Universal Cable Productions
  • Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Focus Features
    • Gramercy Pictures label
    • Focus World
    • High Top Releasing
  • NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan
  • Working Title Films
  • Illumination Entertainment
    • Mac Guff
    • Illumination Mac Guff
  • Universal Animation Studios
  • DreamWorks Animation
    • DreamWorks Animation Television
    • DreamWorks Animation Home Entertainment
    • DreamWorks Classics
      • Big Idea Entertainment
      • Bullwinkle Studios JV
    • DreamWorks New Media
      • AwesomenessTV JV
        • Big Frame
        • Awesomeness Films
    • Oriental DreamWorks JV
  • United International Pictures JV
  • Amblin Partners minor stake2021 JV25
    • Amblin Television
    • Amblin Entertainment
    • DreamWorks Pictures label
    • Storyteller Distribution35

Film libraryedit

Main article: List of Universal Pictures films

Film seriesedit

Title Release date Notes
Universal Monsters/Dark Universe 1931–1954; 2017–present co-production with K/O Paper Products
Psycho 1960–1998 co-production with Paramount
Jaws 1975–1987
Back to the Future 1985–1990 co-production with Amblin Entertainment
An American Tail 1986–1999 co-production with Amblin Entertainment and Sullivan Bluth Studios
The Land Before Time 1988–present co-production with Amblin Entertainment, Lucasfilm and Sullivan Bluth Studios
Child's Play 1990–present co-production with Rogue Pictures
Beethoven 1992–2014
Jurassic Park 1993–present co-production with Amblin Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, and The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Dragonheart 1996-present
The Mummy 1999–present co-production with Relativity Media, Sommers Company and Alphaville Films
American Pie 1999–2012
Meet the Parents 2000–2010 co-production with DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures and TriBeCa Productions
The Fast and the Furious 2001–present co-production with Original Film, Relativity Media and One Race Films
Bourne 2002–present co-production with The Kennedy/Marshall Company and Relativity Media
Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy 2004–2013 co-production with Rogue Pictures, Focus Features, Working Title Films and StudioCanal
Despicable Me 2010–present co-production with Illumination Entertainment
The Purge 2013–present co-production with Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes
Fifty Shades 2015–present co-production with Focus Features, Michael De Luca Productions and Trigger Street Productions

Highest-grossing filmsedit

Universal was the first studio to have released three billion-dollar films in one year; this distinction was achieved in 2015 with Furious 7, Jurassic World and Minions36

North America37
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Jurassic World 2015 $651,926,506
2 ET the Extra-Terrestrial 1982 $435,110,554
3 Jurassic Park 1993 $402,453,882
4 The Secret Life of Pets 2016 $368,362,470
5 Despicable Me 2 2013 $368,061,265
6 Furious 7 2015 $352,786,830
7 Minions 2015 $335,036,900
8 Meet the Fockers 2004 $279,261,160
9 Sing 2016 $270,329,045
10 Dr Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 2000 $260,044,825
11 Jaws 1975 $260,000,000
12 Despicable Me 2010 $251,513,985
13 Bruce Almighty 2003 $242,829,261
14 Twister 1996 $241,721,524
15 Fast & Furious 6 2013 $238,679,850
16 The Lost World: Jurassic Park 1997 $229,086,679
17 The Bourne Ultimatum 2007 $227,471,070
18 The Fate of the Furious 2017 $223,880,435
19 Ted 2012 $218,815,487
20 King Kong 2005 $218,080,025
21 The Lorax 2012 $214,030,500
22 Back to the Future 1985 $210,609,762
23 Fast Five 2011 $209,837,675
24 The Mummy Returns 2001 $202,019,785
25 Gladiator 2000 $187,705,427
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Jurassic World 2015 $1,670,400,637
2 Furious 7 2015 $1,516,045,911
3 The Fate of the Furious 2017 $1,227,880,435
4 Minions 2015 $1,159,398,397
5 Jurassic Park ‡ 1993 $1,029,153,882
6 Despicable Me 2 2013 $970,761,885
7 The Secret Life of Pets 2016 $875,457,937
8 ET the Extra-Terrestrial ‡ 1982 $792,910,554
9 Fast & Furious 6 2013 $788,679,850
10 Sing 2016 $631,214,341
11 Fast Five 2011 $626,137,675
12 The Lost World: Jurassic Park 1997 $618,638,999
13 Mamma Mia! 2008 $609,841,637
14 Fifty Shades of Grey 2015 $571,006,128
15 King Kong 2005 $550,517,357
16 Ted 2012 $549,368,315
17 Despicable Me 2010 $543,113,985
18 Meet the Fockers 2004 $516,642,939
19 Twister 1996 $494,471,524
20 Bruce Almighty 2003 $484,592,874
21 Jaws 1975 $470,653,000
22 Lucy 2014 $463,360,063
23 Gladiator 2000 $457,640,427
24 The Bourne Ultimatum 2007 $442,824,138
25 Les Miserables 2012 $441,809,770

‡—Includes theatrical reissues

See alsoedit

  • List of television shows produced by Universal Studios
  • DreamWorks


  1. ^ Robert H Cochrane 1879–1973 formed the Cochrane Advertising Agency in Chicago in 1904 He joined the Laemmle Film Service as advertising manager in 1906, and for the next 30 years devoted himself to promoting Carl Laemmle as the 'star' of various motion picture enterprises In 1912 Cochrane was elected vice-president of the Universal Film manufacturing Company, and served as president of Universal in 1936–37 after Laemmle sold his interests2


  1. ^ a b Lieberman, David "Comcast Completes Acquisition Of GE’s 49% Stake In NBCUniversal" Deadlinecom March 19, 2013
  2. ^ Cochrane, Robert H 2007 "Beginning of motion picture press agenting" Film History: An International Journal Indiana University Press 13 3: 330–332 Retrieved 2016-01-07 
  3. ^ Rose, Liza April 29, 2012, "100 years ago, Fort Lee was the first town to bask in movie magic", The Star-Ledger, retrieved November 11, 2012 
  4. ^ Koszarski, Richard, Fort Lee: The Film Town, Rome, Italy: John Libbey Publishing -CIC srl, ISBN 0-86196-653-8 
  5. ^ "Studios and Films" Fort Lee Film Commission Retrieved May 30, 2011 
  6. ^ Fort Lee Film Commission 2006, Fort Lee Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0-7385-4501-5 
  7. ^ "About Us: Universal Studios History" The Filmmakers Destination NBCUniversal Retrieved 2016-02-12 
  8. ^ a b Hirschhorn, Clive 1985 1983 The Universal Story New York: Crown Publishers ISBN 0-7064-1873-5 
  9. ^ Leonard Leff and Jerold Simmons The Dame in the Kimono, 1990 original edition
  10. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine April 10, 1995 "The MCA sale: The deal; Seagram Puts the Finishing Touches on Its $57 billion Acquisition of MCA" The New York Times 
  11. ^ "Love Actually 2003 - Box Office Mojo" boxofficemojocom 
  12. ^ "New York Film Academy - Los Angeles" nyfaedu 
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie October 5, 2009 "'Two And A Half Men' Cast's Holiday Gifts For The Show's Crew And Staff" Deadline 
  14. ^ a b Goldstein, Lindsay June 19, 2014 "Universal Partnerships & Licensing to Expand to Consumer Products Covering NBC and Sprout" The Wrap Retrieved June 27, 2014 
  15. ^ James, Meg January 27, 2011 "GE completes its purchase of Vivendi's stake in NBC Universal" Los Angeles Times Retrieved April 22, 2013 
  16. ^ Lafayette, Jon January 29, 2011 "Comcast Competes Deal" Multichannel News Retrieved May 21, 2011 
  17. ^ Masters, Kim December 13, 2012 "Why Studios Don't Pay to Make Movies Anymore" hollywoodreportercom p 4 Retrieved April 22, 2013 
  18. ^ Faughnder, Ryan 2013-07-10 "Legendary Entertainment strikes five-year deal with NBCUniversal" Los Angeles Times Retrieved 2013-07-10 
  19. ^ "Focus Revives Gramercy Pictures Label For Genre Films" Deadline Hollywood Deadlinecom May 20, 2015 Retrieved 2015-05-20 
  20. ^ a b c d Lang, Brent December 16, 2015 "Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll Bring Amblin Partners to Universal" Variety Retrieved December 23, 2015 
  21. ^ a b c d Busch, Anita December 16, 2015 "It’s Official: Spielberg, DreamWorks, Participant, eOne, Others Pact For Amblin Partners" Deadlinecom Retrieved December 23, 2015 
  22. ^ a b "Universal Slate Deal" 
  23. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $38-billion deal" Los Angeles Times Retrieved 28 April 2016 
  24. ^ James Rainey 2016-08-23 "DreamWorks Animation's New Management Structure" Variety Retrieved 2016-10-11 
  25. ^ a b Perry, Spencer February 15, 2017 "Universal Studios Buys a Minority Stake in Amblin Partners" Comingsoonnet Retrieved February 20, 2017 
  26. ^ Fernandez, Jay A; Borys Kit; Pamela McClintock October 27, 2011 "The State of the Studio Deals: Who's Doing What Where" Hollywood Reporter p 2 Archived from the original on 2011-12-31 Retrieved 16 July 2012 
  27. ^ http://wwwhollywoodreportercom/news/universal-imagine-deal-280283
  28. ^ Rainey, James January 28, 2016 "Raine Group to Invest $100 Million-Plus in Imagine, Partners Eye Expansion" Variety Retrieved January 29, 2016 
  29. ^ "Batman Producer Legendary Moving to Universal From Warner" Bloomberg Bloomberg LP July 10, 2013 Retrieved 2015-05-11 
  30. ^ "MRC, Universal Make 20 Pic, Five-Year Pact" Dateline Hollywood May 27, 2010 Retrieved 2015-07-27 
  31. ^ "Joel Silver Strikes 5-Year Deal With Universal, Opens With Liam Neeson Thriller" The Wrap June 7, 2012 Retrieved 2015-07-27 
  32. ^ Fleming, Mike 2013-10-31 "Universal Makes First-Look Feature Pact With Hitmaking Producer Will Packer" Deadline Retrieved 2015-05-17 
  33. ^ "Blumhouse Signs 10-Year Production Deal With Universal Pictures" The Wrap July 20, 2014 Retrieved 2015-08-22 
  34. ^ "Universal to Distribute Morgan Creek Films" The Los Angeles Times The Los Angeles Times October 3, 2003 Retrieved 2015-05-22 
  35. ^ "Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Relaunches as Amblin Partners" The Wall Street Journal December 16, 2015 Retrieved December 16, 2015 
  36. ^ Nancy Tartaglione "‘Minions’ Tops $1 Billion Worldwide; Universal Sets Another Industry Record - Deadline" Deadline 
  37. ^ "Universal All Time Box Office Results" Box Office Mojo Retrieved April 9, 2017 

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • Universal Pictures on Internet Movie Database
  • Universal Studios on Internet Movie Database
  • Universal Studios Animation at the Big Cartoon DataBase

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