Universal Pictures became the first Hollywood studio this year to cross the $1bn mark in international grosses over the weekend. It is only the second time in the studio's history - 1999 was the first - that the milestone was crossed and continues a blisteringly successful year for the company which releases its films internationally through its jointly-owned distribution outfit United International Pictures (UIP).
Leading the pack for the studio was The Mummy Returns which took $224.8m, followed by Bridget Jones's Diary which crossed the $200m mark over the weekend (Miramax handled domestic rights to the film) and Jurassic Park III with a total to date of $181.1m (still playing in several territories). All three films have now overtaken their domestic tallies of $202m, $71.5m and $180.1m respectively.
Meanwhile Hannibal, to which Universal handled most of international, took $135.5m in UIP territories; American Pie 2 crossed the $100m mark last weekend having opened in 31 territories (15 to go including major markets Japan, Australia, Spain, Mexico and Brazil) and The Fast And The Furious has grossed $56.8m to date with five territories yet to open (Argentina, Venezuela, Croatia, India, Cyprus).
"Universal and UIP, working in concert together, have produced some amazing results this year," said Randy Greenberg, Universal's senior vice president of marketing and distribution. "This achievement could not have been reached without every single employee of both organisations working together to produce the best results for each film. It's a testament to their dedication and hard work that we're the first studio to pass the $1bn mark this year."
Universal's 2002 slate includes the highly anticipated 20th anniversary re-release of ET - The Extra-Terrestrial, Mummy spinoff film The Scorpion King, Curtis Hanson's as yet untitled Detroit project featuring Eminem, Europe-set thriller The Bourne Identity with Matt Damon, Jim Carrey-starrer Dog Years and a new Hannibal Lecter movie Red Dragon starring Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton and Emily Watson.