Universal Pictures is one of Hollywood’s legendary “Big Six” film studios. Founded in 1912, it has become one of the most profitable companies in the U.S., with over 3.000 movies distributed internationally and 10 theme parks in three different countries. Take a look at our list of 15 things you didn’t know about Universal, and stay tuned for part two, coming soon!
Number Fifteen: MGM’s Attempt at Acquiring Universal Studios
Universal was really close to being acquired by fellow media production monster MGM in 2003. MGM has been trying to expand its company and find strategic business partners for a while. In 2001, they tried to merge with Sony as well. None of those partnership plans worked out.
Number Fourteen: Record Holder
2015 has been the best year Universal Productions so far, which released, for the very first time in history, three $1 billion dollar films in the same year. These films are Jurassic World, Furious 7 and Minions. However, none of those managed to reach Disney’s box office results for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Number Thirteen: Universal’s ‘Jaws’ Themed Attraction
Universal Studios Orlando used to have a very distressing ride that no longer exists; the Jaws ride. Visitors would sail off to Amity Harbor, only to be chased by a giant great white shark. The attraction, which cost $30 million to build, was shut down in 2011 and replaced by the new Transformers ride. However, it can still be found in Universal Studios Japan, near Osaka.
Number Twelve: Biggest Box Office Flop of 2015
The studio doesn’t always make good choices. Both Jem and the Holograms and The Gunman, which were distributed by Universal, were the biggest flops of 2015, making the company lose millions. In addition, 47 Ronin, released in 2013 by Universal Studios and Relativity Media, is the second biggest office bomb ever. The total estimated loss is a staggering $100,000,000–152,000,000!
Number Eleven: Largest Collection of ‘Harry Potter’ Merchandise
Universal Orlando is a paradise for Harry Potter fans. Diagon Alley is an accurate representation of Harry Potter‘s London, but it only counts with two rides. Everything else is shop after shop. No other place in the world beats Diagon Alley in terms of the amount of Harry Potter merchandise. Mugs, apparel, collectibles, stickers, accessories, toys, replicas, wands, costumes, bags, sweets, pins, key chains… you choose!
Number Ten: Oldest Film Studio in America
Established in 1912, Universal is the oldest film studio in America and the fourth oldest in the world. The oldest production company is Gaumont Film Studio, founded in 1895 in France.
Number Nine: The Studios’ Suicide Case
The darkest episode to ever take place at one of Universal’s theme park was that of a suicide. In 2015, a man shot and killed himself in Hollywood’s Universal Studios, near the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. The news didn’t really transcend outside the U.S.
Number Eight: Jim Carrey Once Participated in an Attraction
Most visitors didn’t notice, but Jim Carrey once dressed up as Norman Bates’ defunct mother from Psycho and ‘attacked’ visitors with a rubber knife. Carrey was shooting Man on the Moon near the resort and decided to just do it, without warning the park staff beforehand. Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!