Jamie Neish: It’s been a good year for Universal

Jurassic World  with  Bryce Dallas Howard
Jurassic World with Bryce Dallas Howard
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FIFTY Shades of Grey, Fast and Furious 7, Pitch Perfect 2, Jurassic World and Minions may not have a lot in common on paper, but they’re all part of the reason for Universal Pictures’ bumper year at the box office.

The studio, one of the original American six, is having a terrific 2015 thanks to the success of a number of its properties. It all started in February with the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, the adaptation of EL James’ best-selling erotic novel, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as odd couple Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

That film, rated 18 by the BBFC for ‘strong sex and nudity’, smashed analysts’ expectations, pulling in a massive £34m here and £360m worldwide, despite its cool critical reception.

Things have only improved from there. Fast and Furious 7, the swan song of former star Paul Walker who tragically died in a car accident last year, has earned £38m in the UK and £970m worldwide since its release in April.

Pitch Perfect 2, while not so much a hit over here, proved massive in America, beating its original’s total domestic takings in its opening weekend. Its worldwide tally currently stands at £180m.

The little critters that arguably stole Despicable Me and its sequel from under Gru’s feet now have their own spin-off film simply titled Minions. Newly released, that film has taken a neat £260m worldwide to date.

But the real success of the year so far has to be Jurassic World (pictured). Years in development, the fourth film in the franchise was finally unleashed in cinemas in early June and has smashed one box office record after another. With their worldwide takings for the year currently sitting at more than £1.9 billion (remember it’s only July), Universal deserve a round of applause and a hearty slap on the back.