Inside Universal’s Potent Recipe for Success in a Struggling Movie Business

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Donna Langley’s studio has delivered big hits, pushed through misfires, and delivered the quantity of films theaters are clamoring for

Donna Langley

At the upscale sushi spot Nobu, Donna Langley sat at a corner table away from the crowd at Universal Pictures’ CinemaCon party in Las Vegas last month. On the opposite side of the room, filmmaker Jon M. Chu enjoyed salmon nigiri with Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo, the stars of his upcoming film “Wicked” — just minutes after they wowed theater owners with a preview of a movie that could become a massive Thanksgiving box office hit. 

If it does, it will continue a huge hot streak for Universal, one that hit its peak for Langley when Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” became the 10th film in the studio’s history to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

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