Universal Pictures crosses $1 billion at overseas box office

Mumbai: As of 13 August, Universal Pictures International (UPI) has grossed more than $1 billion in box-office revenue for the year-to-date.

The announcement was made by Universal Pictures’ chairman Marc Shmuger and co-chairman David Linde.

Reaching the billion-dollar benchmark in August is the fastest the studio has achieved this success and puts it on track to its most successful year in history.

Bolstered by a slate that represents a broad diversity of success and propelled by three films that have passed the $100 million mark internationally this year — the musical romantic comedy Mamma Mia! ($180 million to date), the epic adventure The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor ($152 million to date) and the action-thriller Wanted ($123 million) — the studio is well on its way to its most successful worldwide box-office performance.

"Universal is a studio with a commitment to making global films for global audiences, and the consistency of success in this year’s slate demonstrates how well that is working around the world," said David Kosse, president of UPI. "I’m extremely gratified and proud that UPI is realizing this historic success with films as different as Mamma Mia! and The Mummy. It’s proving that our specialty is our adaptability."

Since its release in early July, Mamma Mia! has been breaking records across the world as the biggest opening of a musical in history. It has already become the highest grossing film of 2008 in the UK, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Norway and Sweden. Within the next two weeks, the Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan-led musical romantic comedy will become the most successful film Universal has ever released in the U.K. The film still has more than 30 territories in which to open.

Additionally, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has opened to record-breaking success in multiple territories around the world and is firmly on track to become the highest grossing film internationally in The Mummy franchise. The opening international first-weekend gross of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor  was more than 60 percent bigger than the combined opening weekend totals for The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, if they had the same release pattern. The film has opened at No. 1 in 38 territories so far, and it has maintained its position as the most popular film in the world for more than two weeks since its release on 1 August. It was Universal’s biggest opening ever in Russia, Spain, Ukraine, Korea, Latin America and Thailand, among others.

Other highlights that have contributed to UPI’s success for 2008 include impressive performances from its original productions and acquisitions such as The Incredible Hulk, American Gangster, Charlie Wilson’s War, Atonement, Step Up 2: The Streets, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Other Boleyn Girl and Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Moreover, Mamma Mia! has another 32 territories in which to release, while The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has 15 more territories and Wanted an additional 20. Upcoming UPI films include the action-thriller Death Race, starring Jason Statham and Joan Allen; the comedy Role Models, starring Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd; the drama Changeling, from director/producer Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich; and the Coen brothers-directed/Brad Pitt and George Clooney-led comedy-thriller Burn After Reading.