Universal Pictures just shattered another record this year. For the second time it is 103-year history, Universal Pictures International — fueled by box office champs Fast & Furious 7, Fifty Shades of Grey, Pitch Perfect 2, and yesterday’s opening of Jurassic World, has crossed $2 billion at the international box office, the fastest that any studio has reached this milestone. And it still has Ted 2 and Minions yet to come, the latter of which could be the last $100M opener of the summer. In making the mark, UPI overtakes the 2010 record set by 20th Century Fox when it reached $2 billion on June 15 of that year. The best previous record climb for UPI was September 17, 2013.
The milestone comes as the domestic market prepares for the opening of Jurassic World (UNI/Legendary) this weekend. That picture is expected to stomp well past $100M this weekend with some predictions thinking it may gross as high $130M. The Universal production, marketing and distribution teams under the tutelage of Uni chairman Donna Langley behind these pictures are a well-oiled machine as they have just pumped out hit after hit this year, and really are the only ones opening sequels successfully on a consistent basis.
The latest on the studio’s slate — the Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard starring Jurassic World — took in roughly $21M yesterday in 8 markets as it began its rollout overseas. It is opening today in 45 territories. It opened No. 1 in China with an impressive $17.24 million (RMB 107M) to become the sixth-biggest debut for a foreign film ever in that country (and the third one to ever cross that 100RMB mark on its first day in theaters). It continues its rollout tomorrow in 21 more markets.
“Our continued success this year has been driven by the studio’s ability to build new franchises such as Fifty Shades of Grey and to nurture our homegrown franchises, which include the Pitch Perfect and Fast & Furious series,” said UPI distributon prexy Duncan Clark in making the announcement. “We have benefited from strategic dating choices, allowing our tentpole films breathing room to reach their full potential at the international box office. This was truly a team effort across the globe. We are proud to share this accomplishment with not only our leadership in London and Los Angeles, but with our local teams who worked tirelessly to make this one of the most exciting years in our studio’s history.”
Some of the aforementioned films ended up with their own records for the studio. Fifty Shades of Grey became the studio’s highest-grossing R-rated film of all time when it opened on Valentine’s Day weekend this year. The film has grossed $403.6 million at the international box office and $569.6M worldwide. In other words, it garnered about 71% of its total global gross from international.
Fast & Furious 7 (it was titled Furious 7 in the states), led by social media darlings Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ended up grossing more than $1.16 billion internationally. The last installment in the franchise to star the late Paul Walker, Fast & Furious 7 was the fastest film ever to cross the $1 billion threshold worldwide — and did so in only 17 days. It also has the record for the highest-grossing film ever in China ($390.8 million) and the third-highest-grossing film at the international box office ever, along with Avatar and Titanic.
Pitch Perfect 2 is responsible for adding another $90 million in 46 territories for UPI with another 1 markets opening in the next few weeks. Global gross to date on the Elizabeth Banks-directed musical comedy is $250.7M. It even gave Mad Max: Fury Road a run for its money in Australia.
There doesn’t seem to be any let up either in what is seen as a strong slate of upcoming films that includes: Ted 2; Illumination Entertainment’s Minions; Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck which is written by and starring the hotter than ever Amy Schumer; the controversial Straight Outta Compton directed by F. Gary Gray; M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit; Everest, an epic adventure from Universal, Cross Creek and Working Title; Steve Jobs, from director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin; and Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak from Legendary.