Universal to focus on animation and franchise films

Universal to focus on animation and franchise films

This week has seen the 2012 Media, Communications and Entertainment conference take place in Los Angeles, the conference was host to a range of speakers and discussion topics including NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke who commented upon the ups and downs of industry performance and where Universal Pictures is focusing in the short term future. In summary, franchises, franchises and more franchises. To be fair CEO Steve Burke also announced that the studio would be focusing on animation, and that ideally they will produce an animated film approximately every 18 months with the goal of building towards two animated films a year. No doubt influenced by the outstanding financial success of ‘Despicable Me’, with the inclusion of US DVD sales and worldwide box office revenues that film is in the vicinity of $650 million in revenues.

Animation aside however, the studio is looking to franchises and this comes as no surprise, given the current environment of franchise dominated film releases, the potential of tapping into existing markets by adapting non-film materials or capitalising on previous film releases it is clearly the financially safer route to take.

Universal will be releasing ‘Fast Six’ in 2013 with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker returning along with director Justin Lin. The Bourne series of films was specifically mentioned to continue beyond ‘The Bourne Legacy’, while that film didn’t set the box office on fire, it was a moderate success in cinemas and still has its home format release to come.

Lastly it seems like ‘Ted’ has been put on the franchise list, Seth MacFarlane’s film did very well at the box office as an R rated comedy in the US. The Universal CEO stated that they’d like to see ‘Ted 2’ in cinemas as soon as possible.

There you have a bit of an insight into Universal’s current plans, any thoughts on where they are heading? Let us know wht you think!

Leith spent most of his formative years growing up on the coastal fringes of Western Australia without a cinema in sight. There he grew up on the wonders of home rentals before relocating to Perth and gaining access to a proper cinematic experience just in time for the Star Wars Special Edition re-releases. From there Leith's love of movies expanded to volunteering on a Star Wars fan film, reviewing films, writing about film news, and attending film and pop-culture related conventions on the other side of the world. Leith's favourite films are too many to mention but all start with the Star Wars saga, Back to the Future, the Dark Knight trilogy, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings and all things Kevin Smith. With an insatiable appetite for all things pop-culture related Leith also has an unhealthy addiction to the world of comics and can often be found buried under a pile of unread back issues madly trying to catch up on a number of titles coming out from mostly DC and Darkhorse.