Steve Burke Says ‘Despicable Me 2′ Is Universal’s Most Profitable Film Ever And Lauds Pact With Legendary

NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke made his observations this morning in Comcast‘s Q2 conference call with analysts as he discussed his company’s approach to films following its new production and finance partnership with Legendary Entertainment. Burke noted that NBCU is delighted with its animation alliance with Illumination. The partners’ Despicable Me 2 will become “the single most profitable film in the 100 year history of Universal Studios.” Meanwhile, Legendary is “going to make some of their own films” that target fanboys while Universal “will concentrate on everything else.” Burke says that NBCU will co-finance some of Legendary’s films, and it will co-finance some of Universal’s. He’s pleased with the outcome: “It was a competitive auction to see who would end up with the Legendary film relationship.”

Related: Comcast Beats Q2 Earnings Forecasts With Help From NBCU

Comments (21)

  • “the single most profitable film in the 100 year history of Universal Studios”?
    Wow – imagine if they had managed to make the film without prohibitive cost run-ups.

    Comment by MrJeff2000 — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 9:58am EDT  
    • DM2 cost 76 million, which is impressively cheap for this sort of movie. Hard to tell if you are being sarcastic or just confused.

      Comment by milo — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 3:46pm EDT  
  • I love Steve and he’s the right guy to lead NBCU, but profits from The DM or FF franchises won’t mean anything if Universal continues to writedown 100M+ on awful ideas like RIPD and 47 Ronin which is poised to be the flop of the year. These shit movies may not have been greenlit and bankrolled on his watch, but the madness has to stop. Only a few weeks ago Universal was scheduled to roll out 2 Guns and Kick Ass 2 on the same f’n wknd. In a fatigued market, tired of terrible stories, execution lets do ourselves one better and have 2 films that each have a chance to be profitable and have them compete against each other. Yea, they moved 2 guns up, but that movie should be a Feb/March release when audiences begin to get hungry again for that type of fare. As a Comcast stockholder I’m begging Brian and Steve to stop the self inflicted wounds at Universal. Thank god they made a smart move to push back JP 4, so a good story/script is in place and they’re well positioned to put that franchise on good footing.

    Comment by Philly LaFleur — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 10:10am EDT  
    • As someone who is just an avid movie goer and not in the business, I completely agree with your comment on the fatigued market that is tired of terrible stories – and also useless movies that shouldn’t have been made in 3D. There are so many terrible movies out there that I’ve stopped going and spending the money unless it’s something that truly interests me and I feel is worth seeing on the big screen and spending $13+ a ticket in the NY market. I’m so tired of the lousy remakes and big budget “gaming” movies that are boring. I loved Despicable Me because of the good storyline and those funny as hell minions – and I don’t even have kids! Until the business heads realize that they have to change their formula, they are going to continue to lose money!

      Comment by Movie Fan — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 4:30pm EDT  
  • Yes! More fanboy tentpoles! The resource that will never be tapped out!

    Comment by The July 2013 Box Office — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 10:11am EDT  
  • What? How is it more profitable than E.T? Or Jurrasic Park? E.T cost like 8 million dollars and made almost 400 million in the early 1980s in domestic Box Office.

    Comment by GuyX — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 10:34am EDT  
    • Not adjusted for inflation.

      Comment by not_adjusted — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 10:49am EDT  
      • But Jurassic Park cost $65 million and grossed north of $900 million worldwide, plus VHS sales and rentals were WAY higher than anything possible today. I guess they paid Spielberg a huge chunk of that dough.

        Comment by T-Rex — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 11:16am EDT  
      • Adjusted for inflation, aren’t those earlier movies *more* profitable in comparison?

        Comment by milo — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 3:45pm EDT  
  • Illumination is most certainly is the brightest shining success for Universal, and that is not counting the huge licensing and merchandising the Minions will generate.

    Comment by FTCS — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 10:45am EDT  
  • ET and Jurrasic Park featured gross player Steven Spielberg. So the films ended up enormously profitable for him and his team.

    Comment by Anonymous — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 11:36am EDT  
  • What a depressing notion!

    It only validates these moronic sequels.

    The future of Hollywood . . .

    Comment by CynicalCritic — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 12:04pm EDT  
  • Get it right, “The Dark Knight” and “Man of Steel” have been good to WB. Legendary Pictures only co-financed these films in order to get their name on the map and get small piece of the financial pie. Pacific Rim is LP’s first start out of the gate with the fan-boys, and next us is Seventh Son, which also looks like a turkey. No wonder LP needed to close a deal quickly with Uni.
    Mr. Tull, you are nothing but a walking check book……

    Comment by DSadove — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 12:37pm EDT  
  • More than Jurrasic Park? I’m not buying that. and if thats true how sad for Universal

    Comment by rob — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 12:50pm EDT  
  • More than Jaws? Is that possible?

    Comment by Doug — Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 12:59pm EDT  
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