Universal Pictures just crossed $5 billion at the worldwide box office, thus becoming the third major studio to do so in 2017. The studio is having quite the year, despite box office numbers being down overall compared to previous years. So far, they’ve released 14 major productions since the start of the year; some good, some bad, but many have done exceptionally well at the global box office.
M. Night Shyamalan got the year going with Split, a standalone sequel to his 2000 film, Unbreakable. Then, Jordan Peele’s Get Out followed suit and became one of the most profitable movies of the year. It’s currently being nominated for several awards in addition to being selected as one of AFI’s Movies of the Year. However, not everything has gone according to plan. Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy reboot flopped at the domestic box office and subsequently halted the studio’s plans to proceed with the Dark Universe – but its haul in foreign markets may yet allow for a sequel to happen down the line. What’s more, James Foley’s Fifty Shades Darker – a sequel to Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey – didn’t perform as well globally as the first installment did, though it was still undoubtedly profitable.
All of Universal’s movies in 2017 contributed to the studio passing $5 billion at the worldwide box office, led by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin’s Despicable Me 3 and F. Gary Gray’s The Fate of the Furious. Universal is the third studio to pass the coveted milestone within the past two weeks. Walt Disney Studios garnered $5 billion at the end of November and Warner Bros. Pictures passed the same mark last Tuesday.
So far, Universal is the only studio to have more than one movie cross the billion-dollar threshold in 2017: Despicable Me 3 ($1.032 billion) and The Fate of the Furious ($1.235 billion). In fact, the eighth Fast & Furious installment currently holds the record for the biggest global opening ever ($532 million). However, that will all but surely change once Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi hits theaters this Friday. The forthcoming Star Wars film is expected to rocket past the billion-dollar mark by year’s end (J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens crossed $1 billion in nine days).
Trish Sie’s Pitch Perfect 3, starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson, is Universal’s last major release for 2017. Considering that Jason Moore’s Pitch Perfect and Elizabeth Banks’ Pitch Perfect 2, which released in September and May, respectively, weren’t record-setting hits (though they were certainly box office successes), the studio shouldn’t expect to near the $6 billion mark this year. But next year’s releases – such as J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Christian Rivers’ Mortal Engines – should help them nab $5 billion again.
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