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Warner Bros., Disney and Universal Post Best Box-Office Years Ever

”Man of Steel“ helps WB become only second studio to ring up more than $5 billion in worldwide grosses

Warner Bros., Disney and Universal all had their best years ever in 2013, and Warner Bros. became just the second studio ever to cross the $5 billion mark and finish No. 1.

Warner Bros.’ domestic total was $1.9 billion and its overseas grosses hit $3.14 billion, for a total of $5.04 billion, it said Thursday. That was driven by the Superman reboot “Man of Steel”with $662 million and “Gravity,” which rung up a surprisingly strong $653.3 million. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” finished 2013 with $633.1 million and is still counting.

The only other studio to top $5 billion was Paramount, which totaled $5.17 billion in 2011, driven by “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

Also read: ‘Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones’ Will Haunt ‘The Hobbit’ at Box Office

Disney totaled $4.73 million, with $1.72 million domestically and $3.01 million from overseas. It was led by Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” the year’s top-grossing film with $1.2 billion. Pixar’s “Monsters University” ($743.6 million) and another Marvel film, “Thor: The Dark World” ($629.9) helped plenty.

Universal was third, with $1.42 billion domestic and $2.258 billion internationally for a $3.7 billion global total. “Despicable Me 2” ($918.8 million) — which the studio called its most profitable film ever — and “Fast & Furious 6” ($788.7 million) were the prime drivers. “Identity Thief” and “Mama” were both modestly budgeted hits, taking in $176 million and $147 million respectively.

Despite their record years, the three leaders all had major bombs. Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” Warner Bros.’ “Jack the Giant Slayer” and Universal’s “R.I.P.D.” and “47 Ronin” were all pricey disappointments.

Also read: 6 Box-Office Takeaways From a Record Year of Hits and Flops

Fox was fourth, with $3.40 billion, $2.33 billion of which came from abroad. DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods” ($587.2 million), “The Wolverine”($414.8 million) and “A Good Day to Die Hard” ($304.7 million) were the top earners. “The Heat” broke out with the $230 million.

Studios’ fortunes are cyclical, and Sony is proof of that.

One year after posting its best year ever and finishing No. 1 overall with a “Skyfall”-fueled $4.4 billion, it dropped into fifth with $3.01 billion. Domestic accounted for $1.4 billion and $1.91 billion came from abroad. Sequels “Grown-Ups 2” ($246.5 million) and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” ($238 million) led the way, but big-budget flops “White House Down” and “After Earth” had as much to do with the studio’s bottom line.

For the second year in a row, Lionsgate topped the $1 billion mark both domestically ($1.02 billion) and internationally ($1.22 billion), giving it a $2.225 billion global total. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which out-earned last year’s original film with $797 million globally, and the sleeper hit “Now You See Me”t ($354 million), provided most of the firepower.

Paramount held relatively steady with $2.31 billion, down from 2012’s $2.47 billion. “World War Z” ($540 million), “Star Trek: Into Darkness” ($467.4 million) and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” ($375.7 million) were the highest-grossing films. None were huge hits, relatively speaking, but the studio didn’t have any major bombs, either.

An earlier version of this story had the incorrect box office numbers for Universal.