Though Universal Pictures seemed the picture of suffering through 2012 — crawling through the “Battleship” disaster and receiving tepid returns on their other large bets — the year was in fact the studio's highest-grossing worldwide. “Ted,” “The Lorax,” and “Les Miserables” are mostly to thank for that, but for a renewed 2013? It seems Kristen Stewart, “Fifty Shades Of Grey,” and Rex Reed's worst nightmare lead the charge.
Universal chairman Adam Fogelson, has kept a thick skin over the past year, but recently told THR he believes the lower-key projects all add to a greater result. Both upcoming “Fast and Furious 6” and “Despicable Me 2” grew from modest roots, and now serve as some of the studio's top-grossers. The latest in that line then — after the surprise of “Mama” — is the Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy comedy “Identity Thief:” panned by critics, attended by audiences ($77 million worldwide and counting) there is now “absolutely a conversation,” that Fogelson's starting, about a sequel.
Fogelson also took some time to explain the future of lesser tentpole performers from last year. A “Snow White and the Huntsman” sequel is in active development with “Kristen's character central, as well as the Huntsman role.” And even after the somewhat middling returns for “The Bourne Legacy,” he can still “see [Universal] doing more 'Bourne,' 100 percent yes,” although who knows if he means with Jeremy Renner.
Showing Universal still has hubris in spades, they're mounting a “Van Helsing” reboot for a second try, but when it comes to likely their most anticipated franchise — the “Fifty Shades of Grey” adaptation — Fogelson wants to get it right on the first attempt. He doesn't believe that "[author E.L. James] had any interest in going to a studio where rushing it into production was the vision.”
He continues “there are totally legitimate questions about what this book is as a movie,” but reveals the film could be ready for release “as early as next summer.” Until that saucy success then in 2014, an interesting slate for Universal planned; we'll see how Fogelson's predictions turn out this time next year.