If parent company Universal had a less-than-stellar year, subsidiary Focus Features had one of its best. Wide releases such as the animated “Coraline,” which grossed more than $75 million domestically, and the Coen brothers’ “Burn After Reading,” which made more than $60 million, rank as the company’s second- and third-biggest hits.
While Sam Mendes’ summer comedy “Away We Go” underperformed — Focus CEO James Schamus called it “more of a pinch than an ouch” — the company always maintains a global outlook above all else.
Early this year, Focus combined with London-based Universal Pictures Intl. Production, expanding the company’s global reach and focus on making movies abroad for local markets, such as recent pacts with UFA in Germany and Rome-based Cattleya. Notably, their Spanish-language indie “Sin nombre” is so far the most successful foreign-lingo pic of the year.
Focus’ fall slate could go either way, though it’s betting big domestically with “9,” another animated film produced by Tim Burton. And come award season, the distrib has the Coen brothers’ latest pic, “A Serious Man.”
B.O.: $188.6 million
TOP PIC: “Coraline” ($75.3 million)
TOPPERS: James Schamus, CEO; Andrew Karpen, president; Christian Grass, co-CEO, international
UP NEXT: “A Serious Man” (Oct. 2), “Pirate Radio” (Nov. 6)