Universal Studios was founded on 30th April 1912. The studio is currently the oldest operational movie studio in the U.S. (4th oldest in the world). The studio is owned by Comcast through its subsidiary; NBCUniversal. Over the past century Universal have been in business, the studio has won a record 149 Academy Awards after being nominated more than 680 times. Universal’s success has obviously come with many box office hits and classic films. The studio definitely boasts of producing tonnes of high grossing films over the years. Apart from films, Universal has also managed to produce some very popular sequels and trilogies.
Our focus in this article will however be on films only. Although Universal has been behind very many high earning films, this article is interested in those that performed extraordinarily well. It doesn’t matter when the films were released. Most film series’ dating back a few decades ago have already been digitally reproduced helping them maintain their top seller positions. For this reason, this article will feature top grossing films regardless of their age. If you are interested in finding out the best performing films by Universal Studios worldwide, you are in the right place. Below are top 10 highest earning universal studio films of all times.
10 Bruce Almighty – Worldwide Gross: $242,829,261
Bruce Almighty can easily qualify as Universal Studios’ top grossing fantasy comedy considering the film grossed $484,592,487 worldwide and $242,829,261 in the U.S.. Director Tom Shadyac and his star cast Jim Carrey definitely did a good job on this movie when you consider other statistics i.e. a $67,953,330 opening weekend in 3,549 theatres worldwide. Considering all this was done on a $81 million budget, Bruce Almighty definitely deserves recognitions in Universal’s archives for an extraordinary performance in 2003.
9 How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Worldwide Gross: $345,141,403
This film is undoubtedly one of the most successful holiday films of all time considering the film was released over a decade ago (2000). The film boasts of over $345 million and $260,044,825 in worldwide and domestic sales respectively. Directed by Ron Howard, The film’s success can be attributed to the fact that the storyline is based on a popular 1957 book by the same name written by one of the most popular children's author (Dr. Seuss). A worldwide gross surpassing the $345 million mark is a definite success on a $130 million production budget.
8 Jaws – Worldwide Gross: $470,653,000
Jaws was released to the world on 20th June 1975. This makes the film the oldest top grossing universal films of all time. Considering the film boasts of a $260,000,000 domestic gross on a $7 million budget, it is easy to see why this iconic shark films is one of the highest earning Universal Studios’ films of all times. The film’s storyline is based on a book with the same title. In the film, a giant white shark attacks beach visitors in a summer town. This prompts the police to take matters into their own hands. The police plot to bring the killer shark down with the help of shark hunters and local marine biologists. Jaws obviously has a captivating storyline which explains why the film was so success.
7 Meet the Fockers – Worldwide Gross: $516,642,939
Meet the Fockers is 2004 comedy film directed by Jay Roach starring Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller) and his new fiancée Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo). The two decide it’s time to introduce each other to their parents which results in an interesting story line and a number of interesting scenes given the fact that each family has strong personalities. The result is an interesting comedy film packed with grown up humour. The film used $80 million to generate $279,261,160 locally and over $500 million worldwide. Meet the Fockers definitely deserves to be in this list.
6 Despicable Me –Worldwide Gross: $543,113,985
Movie lovers cherish this movie for introducing the minions and animation to the world in a unique way. This 2010 animation film was a definite success considering the film grossed over $500 million worldwide and $251,513,985 locally on a $69 million production budget. The film’s success can be attributed to the fact that it featured many popular elements/characters from Pixar creators and Looney Tunes. The storyline is also interesting i.e. a criminal mastermind steals a pyramid in Egypt making a former criminal mastermind jealous.
5 The Lost World (Jurassic Park) - Worldwide Gross: $618,638,999
This 1997 hit movie has to be in this list considering it has grossed $229,086,679 in the U.S. and Canada alone since it was released on 23rd May 1997. Jurassic Park had an impressive $72,132,785 first week opening in 3,281 theatres worldwide. Considering the film had a $73 million production budget, Jurassic Park did extremely well. The film is by Steven Spielberg; one of the best most successful film directors in the world today. No wonder the film makes it to this list despite being over 16 years old.
4 Fast & Furious 6 – Worldwide Gross: $788,679,850
Fast & Furious 6 is one of the most recent films in this list considering it was released on 24th May 2013. The film boasts of a domestic gross of over $238 million on a $160 million budget. The success of the film can be attributed to the fact that the film was part of a very successful action film series; Fast & Furious. The film also owes its success to the long list of Hollywood stars in the cast. This explains why the production budget shot up to $160 million. There is however no doubt that the film was a success worldwide given the fact that the worldwide total gross is $788,679,850.
3 ET: Extra Terrestrial – Worldwide Gross: $792,910,554
Steven Spielberg stand’s out again in this list for directing and producing yet another Universal Studios hit film; ET: Extra Terrestrial. Since being released over 3 decades ago (on 11th June 1982), this family adventure film has grossed $435,110,554 locally and over $792 million worldwide on a $10.5 million production budget. This makes ET: Extra Terrestrial one of the highest earning films in terms of net revenues. ET: Extra Terrestrial is definitely a worthy addition in this list.
2 Despicable Me 2 – Worldwide Gross: $918,755,885
Following the success of the first entry of the Despicable Me film series, it was obvious another entry was in the pipeline. This year (3rd July 2013), Despicable Me 2 was released. The film didn’t disappoint. With a $76 million production budget, Despicable Me 2 managed a domestic gross of $367,355,885 and over $918 million worldwide. The release was nothing short of successful. The film follows the return of former villain Gru, his young girls, and the ever loving minions. The film shows how former bad guy Gru is currently working with the good guys to try and catch the latest villain. A series of new characters are introduced in the film on top of the original cast.
1 Jurassic Park – Worldwide Gross: $1,029,153,882
Steven Spielberg’s prowess in film directing is best demonstrated in this movie. Jurassic Park is two decades old. Since the film was released on 11th June 1993, gross earnings have surpassed the $1 billion mark. The domestic gross stands at $402,453,882 on a $63 million production budget. No wonder the film makes it to the top of this list. The Jurassic park film series has proved to be a huge hit for Universal Studios considering Jurassic Park: The Lost World also makes it to this list. Jurassic World will definitely be an instant science fiction hit for Universal if the film is released as scheduled in 2015.