After three consecutive years of D/D+ grades in performance and quality, Universal finally showed some improvement in both categories in 2012. The studio notched significant gains in revenue both domestically and overseas, though even with the increases Universal still finished behind most of the other major studios in market share. And surprising successes like Ted ($529m worldwide) and Safe House ($208m) seemed to be matched by disappointments like The Bourne Legacy ($276m, well below the previous Bourne entry) and Battleship (grossing just $303m against a production budget north of $200m).
Universal also had the narrowest range of Metascores for its 2012 slate than any major studio. That achievement is a mixed blessing. While the studio had no out-and-out terrible films (joining Disney as the only major distributor last year to avoid a red Metascore), it also didn't really impress critics with any of its releases. Still, its group of six (barely) green Metascores is four more than the studio had in 2011, while Universal's average Metascore increased from 49.3 to 55.7.
While we don't see many more green scores on a 2013 lineup that includes just a dozen new films at the moment, Universal at least has a few potential hits arriving soon in the form of sequels Fast & Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2. But without a few additions to the schedule, 2013 could easily find Universal sinking back down in our rankings at this time next year.
|Film||Domestic Gross*||Metascore||User Score|
|The Five-Year Engagement||$28,835,528||62||6.3|
|The Bourne Legacy||$113,203,870||61||6.2|
|This Is 40||$66,960,310||58||6.1|
|Snow White and the Huntsman||$155,332,381||57||6.3|
|The Man with the Iron Fists||$15,634,090||51||5.9|
|Dr. Seuss' The Lorax||$214,030,500||46||6.6|