Universal Studios Inc.

Universal Studios Inc. is an American motion picture studio. Universal is a subsidiary of NBCUniversal which, in turn, is owned by Comcast. Universal is known as one of the six major American film studios. Its production studios are at 100 Universal City Plaza Drive in Universal City, California. Distribution and other corporate offices are in New York City.

Founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, and Jules Brulatour, it is the oldest movie studio in the United States of America. It is also the fourth oldest in the world that is still in continuous production. On May 11, 2004, the controlling stake in the company was sold by Vivendi Universal to General Electric, parent of NBC. The resulting media super-conglomerate was renamed NBC Universal, while Universal Studios Inc. remained the name of the production subsidiary. In addition to owning a sizable film library spanning the earliest decades of cinema to more contemporary works, it also owns a sizable collection of TV shows through its subsidiary NBCUniversal Television Distribution. It also acquired rights to several prominent filmmakers’ works originally released by other studios through its subsidiaries over the years.

Four of Universal Studios’ films–three of which being directed by Steven SpielbergJaws (1975), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), and Despicable Me 2 (2013)—achieved box office records. Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park each held the title of highest-grossing film in history with Jurassic Park claiming the title from E.T.

Notable Works

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Frankenstein
  • Dracula
  • The Mummy
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Airport
  • American Graffiti
  • The Sting
  • Jaws
  • E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
  • The Deer Hunter
  • Jurassic Park
  • Schindler’s List
  • Apollo 13
  • The Lost World: Jurassic  Park
  • Jurassic Park ///

Jurassic Park

Even before publication, Spielberg learned of the novel in October 1989 while he and Crichton were discussing a screenplay that would become the television series ER. Spielberg in turn requested that Universal buy the rights to the novel adaptation. Before the book was published, Crichton demanded a non-negotiable fee of $1.5 million as well as a substantial percentage of the gross. Several directors and studios bid for the rights, but Universal eventually acquired them in May 1990 for Spielberg. Universal paid Crichton a further $500,000 to adapt his own novel, which he had finished by the time Spielberg was filming Hook. After completing Hook, Spielberg wanted to film Schindler’s List. Music Corporation of America (then Universal Pictures’ parent company) president Sid Sheinberg gave a green light to the film on one condition: that Spielberg make Jurassic Park first. Spielberg later said, “He knew that once I had directed Schindler I wouldn’t be able to do Jurassic Park.”

Film production lasted from August 24-November 30, 1992, wrapping up approximately two weeks ahead of schedule and under the 63 million dollar budget. John Williams completed and conducted the score from February to March of 1993. George Lucas supervised the post-production implementation of digital effects for the film which were completed by April. Jurassic Park was completed and ready for its June 11th release on May 28, 1993.

Promotion for Jurassic Park totaled at 65 million dollars. Jurassic Park ran in worldwide theaters twice, totaling over one billion in revenue–the 17th such film to attain that milestone–$1,029,153,882. Jurassic Park was the highest-grossing film in history from 1993-1997, making 914 million dollars, but was topped by Titanic in 1997. Jurassic Park is now the 13th high-grossing film in cinema history. The critically acclaimed film by Universal was awarded three Oscars or Academy Awards, for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. Its success prompted Universal to commission two sequel films.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park 

Development for The Lost World began immediately following the release of Jurassic Park in 1993. Michael Crichton was pressured by fans for a sequel novel. Having never written a sequel, he initially refused, until it prompted Steven Spielberg himself to request one. After the book was published in 1995, pre-production began the same year with a budget of 73 million. Filming on the sequel commenced in September 1996 and lasted until December 20th.

ILM created and inserted visual effects for the picture in the winter and spring months of 1997. John Williams completed his score within that time frame as well.

The movie premiered on May 23, 1997.It took $92.6 million for the four-day Memorial Day holiday in the U.S., which was the biggest opening weekend at the time. Likewise, it took the record for highest single-day box office take of $26,083,950 on May 25–achieved during that four-day weekend run–a record held until May 1999. It also became the fastest film to pass the $100 million mark, achieving the feat in just six days, again stemming from the massive opening. Total American gross of $229,086,679 and $389,552,320 internationally, the film ended up grossing $618,638,999 worldwide, second only to Titanic that year. The movie was nominated for one Academy Award for visual effects.

Jurassic Park III

Jurassic Park III began initial prep in August 1999, after being greenlit by Universal. The film spent a year in pre-production, finishing that time period with a teaser attached to the Pokemon: 2000 movie, a plan to feature Spinosaurus, Pterosaurs and new Velociraptors and an unfinished script. The production was plagued with an unclear and oft-changed and ‘made up on the go’ script. The result was a production that suffered from a flat story and misuse of sets originally planned to be bigger set pieces. Filming started on August 30, 2000 and concluded in the winter months. Post-production lasted until the summer of 2001. Jurassic Park III had the largest budget of the trilogy at 93 million.

Jurassic Park III had the smallest gross of the three, it earned $181,171,875 in the United States and $368,780,809 worldwide. It was negatively received and was nominated for no major awards at the Academy Awards.