DISNEY and UNIVERSAL made big business in 2015

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Well it would appear I am in the wrong business. I clearly should be making movies and not watching them. 2015 has been a year of big sequel blockbusters which made big loads of cash for their studios – in particular Universal and Disney, who Variety reports have both had record returns for 2015:

Universal finished the year with $6.89 billion, with $1.67 billion of that from “Jurassic World.” Disney followed with $5.85 billion, including $1.33 billion from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

This is not too surprising considering the record breaking releases we have seen this year from the two studios, especially Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which still continues to break records (and since the time of writing this article has now become the biggest movie in US box office history, taking the crown from Avatar). The previous record was by 20th Century Fox in 2014, which made $5.5 billion, so both these studios are well above that. Universal especially – really pulling in massive box office returns for the year thanks to three of their movies exceeding $1 Billion in ticket sales.

Overall, the global box office topped $38 Billion and for the first time included five films that topped $1 Billion worldwide: Jurassic World, The Force Awakens, Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Universal’s Furious 7 and Minions.

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This does highlight how much of a big business sequels and franchises are in the industry, with the highest grossing original movie of 2015 being Inside Out with just over $700 million – and while that is still big money, original titles made a lot less money overall. The bottom earners for the year as published by The Telegraph consist of mostly original franchises. Though to be fair, most of the movies on this list were relatively poor anyway (Hello, Mortdecai!), so lack of franchise recognition is certainly not the only thing to blame.

While the studios will obviously push for more and more franchises that they turn into multiple sequels, I’m hoping they will still invest considerable money in new and original ideas. It’s a tricky situation for studios – money and profits are the main drivers of their business so they need to balance blockbuster success with artistic creativity and new ideas.

With more big blockbusters on the way for 2016 and some potentially exciting new franchises in development, this year is looking even better and is already receiving a good boost with the continued juggernaut that is Star Wars. Now anyone got some cash to lend me so I can go and make a movie?

Last Updated: January 7, 2016

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be out changing the world, but I'd rather be running, watching movies, playing games and writing here instead.

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