Universal Pictures is having a very good year. The best year, in fact. The studio has grossed $5.53 billion at the worldwide box office in 2015, surpassing 20th Century Fox’s previous 2014 record of $5.52 billion for the biggest year of all time—and there’s still five months left! That is a massive feat, and one that was accomplished with the smashing box office successes of Furious 7 ($1.515 billion), Minions ($875 million), Fifty Shades of Grey ($570 million), Pitch Perfect 2 ($283 million), and of course Jurassic World, which at $1.562 billion is the third highest grossing movie of all time (and Furious 7 is the fifth).
These are the main films responsible for Universal’s banner year, but what do you not see among them? A superhero movie. Indeed, at a time when all the major studios are chasing after arguably the most popular genre, Universal does not own any major comic book franchises. That’s not to say comic book movies don’t make money—they make a lot of it, and Warner Bros. and Disney/Marvel Studios will no doubt have excellent 2016’s with Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War—but Universal’s box office record is all the more impressive considering it was accomplished without a single superhero franchise.
What’s also impressive about Universal’s 2015 lineup is the diversity of the slate. Fifty Shades of Grey and Jurassic World are very different movies, but they both have their audiences and both were massive worldwide hits. And while the studio had a couple of notable stumbles (namely Blackhat and Seventh Son), they’re still going strong with a swell summer performance from Trainwreck and Straight Outta Compton poised to open strong week.
And again, it must be restated: Universal has broken the $5.53 billion record in August. They still have a stacked slate of 10 films left to go, including Everest, Crimson Peak, Jem and the Holograms, and Sisters poised to close out the year, and they also have a formidable Oscar play with Steve Jobs bowing in October. Basically, it’s very good to be Universal right now, and while Disney will undoubtedly boost its own numbers with Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year, no studio is likely to catch up with Universal when they’re already so very far ahead.