Universal Eyes Strong Q4 Home Entertainment Release Slate27 Oct, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Minions’ expected to drive retail sales
With three theatrical releases each generating $1 billion in global ticket sales — an industry first — Universal Pictures is eyeing a robust fourth quarter at retail.
The titles: Jurassic World (Oct. 20), Minions (Dec. 8) and Furious 7 (Sept. 15), aim to do well both in Digital HD and packaged media. Furious 7 has already sold more than 2.6 million combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc units, generating $44.4 million in revenue, according to The-Numbers.com. The title ranks as the sixth best seller of the year, trailing Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s spring hit, Fifty Shades of Grey, which has sold more than 3 million discs for $54 million in revenue.
Notably, 2014 hit Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, continues to do well at retail, selling 1.6 million discs for $26.8 million.
“In the fourth quarter … we will continue to benefit from our successful film slate as [Jurassic World and Minions] move into the home entertainment and content licensing windows,” Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh said on the Oct. 27 fiscal call.
In the third quarter (ended Sept. 30), Universal Pictures revenue increased 64% to $1.9 billion, compared with $1.2 billion in the previous-year period. It was the second-most profitable quarter in Universal’s history following the studio’s Q2 results.
Operating cash flow (profit) increased $225 million to $376 million, compared with $151 million a year ago, reflecting higher revenue, partially offset by an increase in the amortization of film costs and higher advertising, marketing and promotion expense due to a larger film slate.
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, studio revenue increased 52.4% to $5.7 billion, compared with $3.7 billion in 2014. Operating cash flow increased 72.2% to $1.1 billion, compared with $634 million in the first nine months of 2014.