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

     April 6, 2012

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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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