December 11, 2010 |
Universal Pictures is in talks to sell its specialty film label Focus Features to investor brothers Alec and Tom Gores, according to people familiar with the matter. The discussions, which are still in an early stage, call into question whether the film studio will hold on to its independent film division as it is swallowed by cable giant Comcast Corp. next year. The Gores, who separately run their own private equity firms, have ambitions to build an entertainment empire by cobbling together film libraries and other media assets.
May 25, 2010 |
Focus Features remains one of the rare specialty film companies tied to a major studio. And at the moment, it has more to brag about than its parent Universal Pictures. Focus celebrated Mother's Day with the better-than-expected debut of its feel-good documentary "Babies," which chronicles the lives of four infants around the world from birth to first steps. The movie company, known for such unconventional hits as "Brokeback Mountain" and "Lost in Translation," also has one of the most anticipated independent movies of the summer coming July 7, the family comedy-drama "The Kids Are All Right" starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple whose two teenage kids seek out their sperm donor.
December 12, 2009 |
In the latest austerity move in Hollywood, Universal Pictures has asked its three top movie suppliers -- Imagine Entertainment, Working Title and Stuber Productions -- and other production companies it funds to cut overhead and economize to compensate for the tough economic realities of the movie business, according to people close to the situation. Some of the studio's producer contracts will not be renewed when they expire. Others with longer-term agreements, including Imagine, Working Title and Stuber, have agreed to reduce operating costs, watch expenses and find efficiencies in their businesses.
December 4, 2009 |
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.
October 6, 2009 |
The decision Monday to oust Universal's two top movie executives comes at a time when the studio's corporate parent, NBC Universal, may be facing dramatic upheaval of its own. Universal Studios President Ron Meyer's move to force Universal Pictures Chairmen Marc Shmuger and David Linde from their posts had been months in the making as the studio suffered from a string of costly box-office flops and infighting that had become a major disruption among...
August 17, 2009 |
Universal Pictures' chairmen, Marc Shmuger and David Linde, have found themselves where all Hollywood executives invariably land when their studios falter: more talked about than their movies. And Universal is having a dismal year, managing just one hit in eight months, the action-packed car racing sequel "Fast & Furious." Not surprisingly, the chairmen and their boss, studio President Ron Meyer, are under pressure from their corporate overlords at parent company NBC Universal and owner General Electric Co. The executives are being grilled over why their movies haven't clicked with audiences, why they cost so much and what the plans are to change course.
July 30, 2009 |
Movie studio executives don't hate Redbox -- they just think it's the equivalent of that dingy movie theater where you can catch 4-month-old movies for a buck. That's the widening consensus among executives in Hollywood as they search for a strategy to deal with the fast-growing DVD kiosk company that rents movies for $1 per night.
July 18, 2009 |
NBC Universal, beset by the continued slump in advertising and weaker performance of its movies, is no longer quite the profit star in General Electric Co.'s universe. Operating profit tumbled 41% to $539 million for the second quarter at the industrial giant's media division, which includes the NBC network; cable channels USA, Bravo and MSNBC; and Universal Studios and theme parks. NBC Universal contributed $3.
June 5, 2009 |
Universal Pictures doesn't have any big sequels or franchise movies on tap this summer. And the studio thinks that's fine. At a time of year when the Hollywood studios typically roll out new installments of established series to take financial advantage of theaters swelling with vacationing children and teens, Universal is placing its bets on three unconventional comedies and an adult gangster movie.
April 19, 2009 |
The gig: President of marketing and distribution for Universal Pictures. The 41-year-old executive is responsible for overseeing the advertising, promotion and publicity campaigns for the studio's movies and DVD releases, which have included such hits as the current release "Fast & Furious," the fourth film in a franchise that so far has collectively grossed more than $825 million worldwide; "Mamma Mia!