Good / So-So / Bad:
Universal's best-reviewed movie of the year was Sam Raimi's low-budget horror hit Drag Me to Hell, which seems to be an appropriate title to summarize the studio's year. Across the board, Universal finished in the depths of the box office standings, placing last among the major studios in virtually every conceivable category.
The studio's 8.2% domestic market share in 2009 marked the first time that one of the major studios fell below 10% since Universal did so in 2006. And you'll have to go back to 2002 to find the last time that a major studio's total domestic gross (adjusting for inflation) was as low as Universal's $867 million take in 2009.
Universal had just two films surpass the $100 million mark last year: the Fast and Furious sequel Fast and Furious, and the critically-despised comedy Couples Retreat. Although Universal had good intentions -- exhibited by what on paper appears to be a solid roster of talent -- their release schedule is littered with commercial and critical disappointments, from Tony Gilroy's underperforming thriller Duplicity to Michael Mann's underperforming gangster film Public Enemies, to Judd Apatow's underperforming dramedy Funny People to Sacha Baron Cohen's underperforming mockumentary Bruno, to -- well, you get the idea. (All that, and we didn't even mention Will Ferrell's $100 million failure Land of the Lost.)
Last fall's management shakeup and the pending Comcast takeover of NBC Universal could mean that a turnaround is in the works, though a 2010 release slate that includes a potential bomb like MacGruber for every potential hit like Robin Hood may pose a problem.
|Total Releases||# Great||# Awful||Avg. Metascore||Avg. User Score|
|Low - Median - High:||23 - 45 - 83||Score Distribution:||23,33.5,45,62,83|
|Category||Total (in Millions)||Rank||Market Share|
|Per-Film Average Gross||$58.6||6th|
|# of Hits (Domestic Gross > $100M)||2 films||6th|
|Film||Studio||Domestic Gross*||Metascore||User Score|
|Drag Me to Hell||Universal||$42,100,625||83||6.1|
|State of Play||Universal||$37,017,955||64||7.4|
|Fast and Furious||Universal||$155,064,265||45||6.8|
|Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant||Universal||$13,869,515||43||6.6|
|The Last House on the Left ||Universal||$32,752,215||42||5.6|
|The Fourth Kind||Universal||$25,486,040||34||6.3|
|Land of the Lost||Universal||$49,438,370||32||4.8|
|The Unborn ||Universal||$42,670,410||30||5.0|