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October 1, 2013 | By Daniel Miller
Universal Pictures will release "Warcraft," a film from Legendary Pictures based on the best-selling video game franchise of the same name, on Dec. 18, 2015, the studio announced Tuesday afternoon. "Warcraft," to be directed by "Source Code's" Duncan Jones, is the first Legendary project to get a release date since the production company signed a deal  with Universal in July. Under terms of the arrangement,  Universal, a unit of NBCUniversal, will market, co-finance and distribute Legendary films for five years beginning in 2014.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 22, 2014 | By Ryan Faughnder
Nikki Rocco, the veteran head of domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, will retire at the end of this year, she said Tuesday.   Rocco, the first woman to become president of a major studio's distribution operations, has worked for the studio for nearly five decades. Rocco, 64, first joined Universal Pictures as a paid intern in 1967 while she was a high-school senior, after which she was hired to work in the company's New York office. She has been Universal's head of domestic distribution since 1996.  PHOTOS: 2013's highest-paid media executives "Nikki Rocco is an industry icon, and in the short time I've been with the company it's been clear why she is held in such high regard," said Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Jeff Shell in a statement.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 23, 2013 | By Daniel Miller
The animated film "Despicable Me 2" has been denied a release in China, a spokesperson for distributor Universal Pictures has confirmed. The 3-D movie, a sequel to the 2010 hit, has grossed $584 million worldwide. And it has been a huge success overseas, taking in $308 million internationally since rolling out in most territories in early July. It's not clear why  China's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) blocked the movie from the country, the second largest film market in the world.  FULL COVERAGE: Reel China The film from production company Illumination Entertainment, the main supplier of family movies to Universal,  centers on the Steve Carell-voiced Gru, a reformed baddie who teams up with his minions to save the world from a super-villain named El Macho.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2014 | By Daniel Miller
Universal Pictures has tapped Eddie Cunningham to be its president of worldwide home entertainment, and company veteran Craig Kornblau, who led the studio's domestic home entertainment operation, is departing after 16 years. With the move, Universal joins other major studios that have aleady transitioned to a management structure that unifies their home entertainment divisions under a global head. Cunningham, who is based in London and will relocate to Los Angeles, has served as president of Universal Pictures International Entertainment for eight years.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 26, 2014 | By Daniel Miller
Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley, who assumed her post after Adam Fogelson was ousted from the position last fall, has had her contract renewed through 2017. Her role at the Comcast Corp.-owned studio is also expanding. Langley, who currently oversees Universal's production strategy and the studio's Focus Features division, will add international production and marketing, and domestic marketing to her portfolio.    Financial terms of Langley's deal were not disclosed.
BUSINESS
September 11, 2013 | By Meg James and Joe Flint
As a teenager Jeff Shell was determined to earn a spot on the elite basketball team at West Los Angeles' University High School. Despite being considered a long shot, he spent hours in his backyard practicing his jump shot and working on his moves until he made the team. "It was a pretty impressive feat," said his younger brother, Dan Shell, a Fox Sports executive. FALL MOVIE SNEAKS 2013: Films, videos and photos Jeff Shell has again nabbed a high-profile assignment.
BUSINESS
December 4, 2009 | By Claudia Eller
In acquiring legendary Universal Pictures, Comcast Corp. would make its Hollywood debut during a particularly turbulent time for the movie business. Not only are all studios grappling with declining DVD sales and shifting consumer habits in entertainment, but Universal is also struggling to correct course from a prolonged box-office slump, runaway production costs and turmoil in the executive suites. Comcast wouldn't be able to exert much influence over the operations of Universal until well into next year after its merger with NBC Universal is finalized.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 18, 2013 | By Daniel Miller
Aided by blockbusters "Fast & Furious 6" and "Despicable Me 2," Universal Pictures crossed the $2-billion mark in international box-office receipts for 2013, a first for the movie studio. As of Wednesday morning, the studio's international take was $2.002 billion. In 2012, the studio had total international box-office receipts of $1.794 billion. "Fast & Furious 6" took in $549 million globally while "Despicable Me 2" collected $485 million. Universal, whose parent, NBCUniversal, is owned by cable giant Comcast Corp., crossed the $2-billion mark a little more than a week after the studio initiated a dramatic reshuffling of its executive ranks,  forcing out Chairman Adam Fogelson.
BUSINESS
December 13, 2000 | Claudia Eller
In the wake of the marriage between France's Vivendi and Seagram Universal, movie marketing president Marc Shmuger has been given broader responsibilities at Universal Pictures as the studio's vice chairman. Studio President Rick Finkelstein has been given the added title of chief operating officer. In his new role, Shmuger, who joined Universal in 1998, will oversee the studio's worldwide marketing operations and Internet initiatives.
BUSINESS
September 17, 1986 | DAVID T. FRIENDLY, Times Staff Writer
Frank Price has resigned as chairman of the motion picture group and president of Universal Pictures, a spokesman for the studio said Tuesday. The studio issued a sparse two-sentence statement, but sources at the studio said Price telephoned MCA President and Chief Operating Officer Sid Sheinberg from New York on Monday evening to announce his departure. Sean Daniel, 35, currently president of production at Universal, is now the top-ranking production executive at the studio.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 26, 2014 | By Daniel Miller
Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley, who assumed her post after Adam Fogelson was ousted from the position last fall, has had her contract renewed through 2017. Her role at the Comcast Corp.-owned studio is also expanding. Langley, who currently oversees Universal's production strategy and the studio's Focus Features division, will add international production and marketing, and domestic marketing to her portfolio.    Financial terms of Langley's deal were not disclosed.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 16, 2014 | By Ryan Faughnder
Kevin Hart and Ice Cube could book a victory at movie theaters this weekend as their new buddy cop comedy "Ride Along" takes aim at last week's victor "Lone Survivor" and the new contender "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. "   The $25-million "Ride Along," from Universal Pictures, marks the first leading role for comedian Hart, who plays a video game-obsessed security guard trying to impress his girlfriend's brother, a rule-bending Atlanta detective played by Cube. The new movie could gross $38 million to $40 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada through Monday, likely making it the No. 1 film over the four-day Martin Luther King Day weekend, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
The reformed supervillain Gru and his lovable yellow minions will reunite on the big screen in "Despicable Me 3," Universal Pictures announced Wednesday. The animated film is scheduled for release on June 30, 2017. The original "Despicable Me," which tells the story of a criminal mastermind (voiced by Steve Carell) who changes his ways after adopting three girls, was a surprise hit in 2010, earning more than $500 million worldwide. A follow-up, "Despicable Me 2," was the third-highest-grossing movie in the United States and Canada in 2013, generating $368 million in ticket sales; it earned $568 million more abroad.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By Times Staff Writers
The following is a full list of nominees for the 45th NAACP Image Awards, which celebrate the accomplishments of people of color in film, TV, music and literature. MOTION PICTURE Outstanding motion picture "12 Years a Slave" (River Road/Plan B/New Regency/Fox Searchlight Pictures) "Fruitvale Station" (Weinstein Co./Forest Whitaker's Significant Productions, OG Project) "Lee Daniels' The Butler" (Weinstein Co./Lee Daniels Entertainment, Laura Ziskin Productions, Windy Hill Pictures, Follow Through Productions, Salamander Pictures, Pam Williams Productions)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 25, 2013 | By Chris Lee
In "47 Ronin," Keanu Reeves portrays the leader of a band of ronin - masterless samurai in 18th-century Japan who must suffer the indignity of having no one to lead them in battle. Turns out that plot line provides an apt metaphor for the period 3-D sci-fi epic's problem-plagued odyssey to the screen. "47 Ronin" arrived in theaters Christmas Day as one of the most troubled movie productions in recent memory, as well as one of 2013's most spectacular flops-in-the-making. According to pre-release awareness surveys, the revenge thriller, which cost at least $175 million to produce, is on track to earn around $20 million in its opening five days.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
After weeks of questions and production delays, Universal Pictures has decided to move forward with "Fast & Furious 7" with Paul Walker included in the finished film. The late star will feature prominently in the sequel, the studio suggested in an announcement late Sunday. "Vin Diesel and Paul Walker lead the returning cast of 'Fast & Furious 7,'" it said in a statement, also announcing that the movie will now hit theaters on April 10, 2015, nine months after the original July date.
NEWS
March 6, 1993
David A. Lipton, 86, for many years vice president of advertising and publicity for Universal Pictures and its parent company, MCA Inc. A native of Chicago, Lipton began his career as an office boy and then moved into publicity. In 1934, he publicized the legendary fan dancer Sally Rand at the Chicago World's Fair. Lipton moved west in 1940 to become publicity director of Universal Studios.
BUSINESS
December 1, 1998 | CLAUDIA ELLER
Following a dismal year at the box office and the disastrous performance of its holiday movies, Seagram Co. has fired Casey Silver, the chairman of its film division, and put Universal Studios President Ron Meyer in direct charge of the operation. Silver was the last top executive holdover from the regime that ran Universal Studios before the Canadian liquor giant bought the entertainment company in 1995.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
'Tis the season when consumer companies fall all over each other trying to show their charitable sides. No one should have anything against that. What's irksome, however, is when they try to enlist us, the customers, in their marketing efforts, as though we're all just partners in helping the neediest. You know the pitch. A company will donate some pittance to charity every time a customer makes a designated purchase. MasterCard, for instance, says it will donate a cent  to the charity Stand Up to Cancer  every time a customer spends $10, using his or her MasterCard, on a restaurant meal between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day this year.  In another recent case, the Canadian airline WestJet cut a video of a surprise gift giveaway to passengers, then pledged to donate Christmas flights to a needy family if the video racked up at least 200,000 views online.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 4, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
Universal Pictures has made it official: “Fast & Furious 7” is going on hiatus in the wake of the death of Paul Walker. The studio released a statement Wednesday confirming that it won't be resuming production on the movie's Atlanta set for an undefined period. “Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul's immediate family and our extended Fast & Furious family of cast, crew and filmmakers,” the studio said. “At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on Fast & Furious 7 for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise.
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