Between their recent problems with The Wolfman being pushed to Land of the Lost and Funny People basically being ignored, out of the billions of dollars spent at the cinemas very little of it went to Universal in 2009. Their highest grossing film of the year came in at #17 and it wasn’t even one to be proud of, it was just another sequel in The Fast and the Furious series. It’s safe to say that 2009 was a complete disaster for Universal… and they know it.
When Adam Fogelson, the chairman of the studio stepped out to introduce all the films that earned over $100 million last year, he admitted he was the wrong person to be doing the job, but quickly joked that “James Cameron was busy.” One of the first things out of his mouth was “this was our first really bad year.”
And it’s true! But one of the first steps to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. They showed a new trailer for Despicable Me, the green band for Get Him to the Greek, (which I will tell you more about below) and footage we’ve already seen from Robin Hood, all of which looks somewhat promising. Although Universal may have beaten us down with sub-par films over the past 12 months, there’s still hope.
Looking through the top ten movies of last year, Universal is no where in sight…
1. Avatar - Fox
2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - P/DW
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - WB
4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon - Sum.
5. Up! - BV
6. The Hangover – WB
7. Star Trek - Par.
8. The Blind Side - WB
9. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - Fox
10. Sherlock Holmes – WB
Here’s where Universal’s top 10 films of 2009 fit on the list…
17. Fast & Furious - $155,064,265 3,674 $70,950,500 3,461 4/3 7/2
28. It’s Complicated - $112,394,750 2,955 $22,100,820 2,887 12/25
29 .Couples Retreat - $109,204,945 3,074 $34,286,740 3,000 10/9 2/4
33. Public Enemies - $97,104,620 3,336 $25,271,675 3,334 7/1 9/3
55. Bruno - $60,054,530 2,759 $30,619,130 2,756 7/10 8/20
59. Funny People - $51,855,045 3,008 $22,657,780 3,007 7/31 9/17
62. Land of the Lost - $49,438,370 3,534 $18,837,350 3,521 6/5 8/13
72. Drag Me to Hell - $42,100,625 2,510 $15,825,480 2,508 5/29 8/6
74. Duplicity -$40,572,825 2,579 $13,965,110 2,574 3/20 5/28
78. State of Play - $37,017,955 2,807 $14,071,280 2,803 4/17 6/18
Fogelson stated that “by the end of this year  and going into 2011 we’ve got some great projects coming up,” which sounds all fine and dandy but what does that mean for the beginning and the middle of 2010? Are we going to have to suffer through several mediocre movies before we get to the good stuff?
At least I kind of believe them now though. After all the false promises, they can’t afford to keep lying to audiences. If they keep promising the stars and leaving us in the mud, pretty soon no one will bother. At least now there’s still hope!
As for the green band version of Get Him to the Greek, it didn’t look too bad! It had some funny jokes, got a few laughs from the audience, and definitely looked like it had some promise. Both Jonah Hill and Russell Brand seem to just be playing versions of themselves, which could be quite entertaining. It’s no Hangover, but then again, very few things are. They did manage to entice me enough to give them 90 minutes of my attention (possibly while intoxicated).
As for Despicable Me, again it looks like we’ve already seen before, but it could be fun.
Bottom line, Universal is doing their best to play it safe at the moment. Will they succeed? Not until they get something that will break out of the box, dare I say Scott Pilgrim vs. The World may just be the movie to save them?
Here’s a list of Universal’s 2010 spring and summer releases…
- March 19th – Repo Men
- May 14th – Robin Hood
- June 4th – Get Him to The Greek
- July 9th - Despicable Me
- July 30th – The Adjustment Bureau
- August 13th – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
- August 20th – Nanny McPhee 2
Which one do you think will save the day?