Universal Studios President Ron Meyer Talks Franchises, 3D, “Shitty Movies” and Sequels to THE LORAX and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

     April 6, 2012


NBC Universal Studios President Ron Meyer spoke candidly today on a number of movie-related topics, including franchises, the rising use of 3D and potential sequels for The Lorax and Snow White and the Huntsman.  An opening Q&A session at the 2012 Pulse Conference provided the backdrop for this honest review of certain aspects of the movie business.  Meyer attempted to clarify his earlier comments that “Hollywood makes shitty movies” by saying: “What I said is we make some good movies and some shitty movies. Nobody ever sets out to make a shitty movie.”   He specifically called out his own studio’s Wolfman, Babe 2, Cowboys & Aliens and Land of the Lost.  On a more positive note, he also commented on the success of franchises such as Despicable Me and the studio’s ongoing relationship with Hasbro.  Hit the jump for much more from Meyer, including news related to potential sequels.

THR reported ron-meyer-01that although the box office results for Universal’s The Lorax did more than twice what the studio expected, there are currently no plans to make a sequel to the original, which was a “self-contained one-off story that had a happy ending.”  That doesn’t mean that the studio won’t be revisiting a Dr. Seuss property in the future:

“It does have us thinking about doing more Dr. Seuss movies.”

Meyer also mentioned that the studio is currently working on a new animated version of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. As to whether or not that project will be in 3D, Meyer may not enjoy watching it as such, but comments that there is a place (and definitely a market) for it:

“I’m not a fan of 3D as an audience member.  I’m too old for it. I don’t like wearing the glasses over my glasses.  There is a place for it, an important place. I just don’t think we should kid ourselves that it is an end all for the business.”

With studios like Warner Bros. and Disney capitalizing on comic franchises, Universal has had to look elsewhere for their built-in audience adaptations. Meyer spoke on the financial benefits of building on a pre-existing franchise, such as ease of explanation to movie-goers and cost savings in marketing.  Speaking on which properties Universal has managed to build on, Meyer said:

“Hasbro is the closest to it. Hasbro brought us Battleship.”

Meyer also said that Despicable Me was an example of an original idea that grew into a potential franchise, saying that “hopefully there will be a lot more to come.”  Speaking of movies with sequel and franchise potential, Meyer said that, although the initial story of Snow White and the Huntsman doesn’t lend itself to a sequel, Universal is prepared to build future movies around Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman character if the movie proves successful.  Although the Huntsman is part of the title, Hemsworth has been more or less left out of the marketing for the picture, leaving Kristen Stewart’s Snow White to battle it out with Charlize Theron’s Queen Ravenna.  It would be interesting to see if they can expand on the role for Hemsworth, who is looking to have a breakout year in 2012 with The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods also opening.


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  • Corr

    Why does EVERY movie have to have a sequel nowadays? Just because a movie does well does not mean it has to have a sequel, and I’m tired of movie studio’s taking that route. Let’s get some original movies released please.

  • jo

    i think they can expand on hemsworth character no problem. if the storyline of snow white is normal then the queen dies, and i’m sorry charlize is a huge selling point for that movie.

  • Chris

    The Lorax was just as bad if not worse then Land of the Lost!

  • SP1234

    Hemsworth’s 2012 year is breakthrough, not breakout. For that, your gonna have to credit Thor for catapulting him to superstardom. Can’t wait for Snow White either way, and they have the awesome Florence + The Machine on the soundtrack!

  • SP1234

    And the Red Dawn remake as well.

  • chaos….reigns

    A studio head comparing Babe 2 to Land of the Lost and Cowboys and Aliens is a sign that a studio is run by idiots. Though I suppose since Universal made Battleship instead of adapting Lovecraft is a sign of its unforgivable stupidity.

    • nNark

      EXACTLY. And, it’s so typical (and depressing) that they see the freaking LORAX’s success as a call to do more kiddie flix. (Specifically, more “Suess” films– The Lorax is Suess in name only!)

      • brandon

        It’s not a matter of comparing one movie to another, it’s a matter of comparing dollar signs to dollar signs.

  • jack

    After Battleship and Snow White bomb what will he say? Chris Hemsworth is the new Sam Worthington; he’ll be played out by the end of this year.

    • Ellen

      Um, he isn’t in Battleship. You are thinking of Taylor Kitsch, who was in John Carter, the first big bomb of 2012. Kitsch’s career will have a lot to answer to by the end of 2012, but we are talking about Chris Hemsworth here.

      Unlike Worthington, Hemsworth can actually do accents and is a far better actor. I say he has already exceeded Worthington. And just because he will be starring a quite a few films in 2012 doesn’t mean he will be played out.

  • drod

    I personally enjoy Cowboys and Aliens very much, enough to buy it. I’ve watched it several times. It’s by no means a masterpiece but it isn’t a bad popcorn flick. The acting was solid, and the special effects were fun. As far as the story well its based off a graphic novel with only a few changes. So if you want to blame the story on anyone blame the original creators.

    Also the Wolfman a bad movie? Nope. Its far superior to the original and is one of my favorite Horror films. Joe did a great job with that project. The score, acting, script, special effects, everything was just amazing to me. And many share my opinion. It actually has a cult following ever since it came out on DVD.

    I think its pretty Low of a President of a studio company to come out and say a movie is shit. If its shit then why not make the movies yourself? They’ll be better right?………….

  • Darcy

    If they do not keep kristen stewart in the sequels Im positive they will lose a huge part of there audience since Kristen has a huge fanbase and most of them are seeing this film for her.

  • nNark

    Wow, this was enlightening. Not.

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  • mattinacan

    This dude brings nothing new to the table, and has no fresh ideas. Universal has one foot in the grave.

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