Universal Pictures Q1 Profit Falls 45%

The movie business is often a financial rollercoaster, with release slates and fickle box office turning previous successes into future fiscal headaches.

Universal Pictures said first-quarter (ended March 31) revenue dropped 16.3% to $1.6 billion from $1.9 billion in the previous-year period, primarily due to lower theatrical revenue. The studio includes Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Theatrical revenue decreased 35% due to the higher number of movies in release in last year’s first quarter, including comparing financial results from Fifty Shades DarkerSingSplit and Get Out in last year’s quarter against performances of Fifty Shades Freed, Pacific Rim Uprising, Darkest Hour and Pitch Perfect 3 in this year’s first quarter.

Fifty Shades Darker generated $114.5 million at the previous-period domestic box office compared to $100 million for follow-up Fifty Shades Freed this year.

Animation hit, Sing, generated $634 million globally, including more than $270 million domestically. It also generated almost $63 million in combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc sales in 2017, according to The-Numbers.com. That’s more than the combined box office tally from Pitch Perfect 3, Darkest Hour and Pacific Rim Uprising.

Studio pre-tax income fell 45.2% to $203 million from $370.4 million in the previous-year period, reflecting the decline in revenue, partially offset by lower programming and production costs.

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