Universal Holds Off Disney and ‘Star Wars’ for Market Share Crown

“Jurassic World” was part of a record run that helped Universal Pictures take 21 percent of the $11 billion domestic box office

Universal Pictures is the Indominus Rex of the 2015 domestic box office.

Thanks to the year’s top-grossing movie “Jurassic World” and the hottest box office streak in Hollywood history, the studio has won the 2015 domestic market share title with $2.43 billion — 21.6 percent of the overall total — as of Wednesday.

Runner-up Disney, which made a late charge with “Stars Wars: The Force Awakens,” finished at $2.16 billion, or 19.2 percent. J.J. Abrams‘ sci-fi adventure has obliterated nearly every record in its path and last weekend became the studios’s second film to top the $1 billion mark globally, after Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Universal reached “triple crown” status by breaking records for the industry’s highest-grossing year ever for a studio worldwide when it crossed $5.53 billion in global grosses (beating Fox’s 2014 record); internationally, when it crossed $3.73 billion (beating Fox’s 2014 record); and domestically, when it crossed $2.105 billion (beating Warner Bros’ 2009 record).

Three of its movies — “Furious 7,” “Jurassic World” and Illumination Entertainment’s “Minions” — topped $1 billion globally, another  industry first.

“We had great filmmaking partners who gave us a diverse slate that was marketed superbly and with great timing,” Nick Carpou, in his first year as president of Universal Pictures’ domestic distribution, told TheWrap.

2015 Studio Box Office Chart

Universal has this year’s highest-grossing film at the domestic box office (“Jurassic World”); the highest-grossing international box office (“Furious 7”) and the highest-grossing worldwide box office (“Jurassic World”). “The Force Awakens” will likely top the dinos’ grosses eventually, but on the strength of box office from 2016.

During its streak, which started in February, Universal had six films open No. 1 at the domestic box office: “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Furious 7,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Jurassic World,” “Minions” and “Straight Outta Compton.” In all, it had 14 No.1 weekends, more than any other studio.

Seven of its films grossed north of $100 million at the North American box office, more than any other studio: “Jurassic World” ($652 million), “Furious 7” ($353 million), “Minions” ($336 million), “Pitch Perfect 2” ($185 million), “Fifty Shades of Grey” ($166 million), “Straight Outta Compton” ($161 million) and “Trainwreck” ($110 million).

Universal finished fifth last year, so this is remarkable turnaround for the studio and the best in its 103-year history.

The studio began the turnaround following the appointment of Jeff Shell as chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment by NBC/Universal CEO Steve Burke in 2013.

Chairman Donna Langley heads Universal Pictures and Ron Meyer, president of Universal Studios for 18 years before he segued into the role of vice chairman of NBCUniversal, helps Shell and Langley run the studio.

“That we had Universal with their incredible year and Disney bringing ‘Star Wars’ back at the same time is really remarkable,” said Exhibitor Relations media analyst Jeff Bock. “I hope people were paying attention, because we won’t see a year like this again soon.”

Here’s how the rest of the market share broke down:

Warner Bros., 14.1 percent ($1.59 billion)
Fox, 11.3 percent ($1.27 billion)
Sony, 8.5 percent ($957 million)
Lionsgate, 5.9 percent ($668 million)
Paramount, 5.7 percent ($640 million)
New Line, 3 percent, ($337 million)
Weinstein, 2.6 percent ($291 million)
Fox Searchlight, 1 percent ($117 million).
21 other indie distributors had less than 1 percent.

15 Biggest Movie Letdowns in 2015: From 'Jem' to 'Jupiter Ascending'

Partners

Featured