The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug

Despite financial flops, Universal grew its worldwide box office last year

In a major market share shake-up, Warner Bros. ruled the movie world in 2013, with $5.03 billion globally ($3.14 billion from overseas and $1.89 billion Stateside). Sony fell the furthest — from last year’s global and Stateside leader to fourth place domestically, with $1.1 billion, and fifth worldwide ($3 billion-plus) in 2013.

Warner Bros.’ biggest release was “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” at $653 million and counting. “Gravity” and “Man of Steel” also provided considerable heft to the studio’s 2013 slate.

Disney’s second-place showing was even more impressive considering the Mouse House had less than half the number of releases as Warners.

In 2013, the Mouse scored $1.68 billion domestically (through Dec. 29), thanks largely to record five $200 million-plus grossers — “Iron Man 3,”  “Monsters University,” “Frozen,” “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Thor: The Dark World” — all in the same year.

Internationally in 2013, Disney totaled $3 billion, the first time the studio has done so.

Studio figures are based on estimates. Bean counters still are calculating some international grosses, while Stateside box office is being counted through New Year’s Day.

For the second straight year, Paramount — which failed to crack the $1 billion Stateside mark but contributed $1.36 billion overseas — was surpassed by Lionsgate, which ranked fifth, raking in a “Hunger Games”-driven $1.068 billion domestically. By comparison, Paramount released the same number of films as Disney, at 10 each, but trailed the Mouse in market share by nearly half. Par’s top 2013 release was “World War Z,” with more than $540 million worldwide.

In sixth place domestically, Fox grossed an estimated $1.062 billion during the 2013 calendar year. The studio was third overseas, with $2.33 billion — down roughly 14% from 2012, when Fox led the international market share thanks to its dynamite toon grosser “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”

This past year, Fox’s first release from DreamWorks Animation, “The Croods,” led the charge for the studio, grossing more than $520 million worldwide.

While Disney had the top-grossing film worldwide in 2013 (“Iron Man 3,” with $1.2 billion), the combined power of Warner Bros.’ 19 films gave it the edge globally.

The award for the most consistent studio (except for a few glaring financial duds including “R.I.P.D.” and “47 Ronin”) goes to Universal, which released what’s likely the most profitable film of 2013 — “Despicable Me 2.”

The toon sequel from Illumination Entertainment has grossed a whopping $921 million worldwide so far, with a production budget of just $76 million.

Totaling $1.42 billion domestically, Universal also filled its coffers with “Fast and Furious 6,” grossing $789 million globally, as well as smaller-budgeted films including “Identity Thief,” with $174 million worldwide, “Mama” ($146 million) and “The Purge” ($89 million).

Sony had success with modestly budgeted adult dramas “Captain Phillips” and “American Hustle,” as well as the summer comedy “This Is the End.”

Still, Sony likely suffered the greatest turmoil in 2013 vs. the previous year, with such major box office bombs as “After Earth” and “White House Down.” Even some of the studio’s most promising players, “The Smurfs 2″ and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” underperformed compared to their predecessors.

Market share mix-up

Studio – Global* (Int’l*; Domestic*)

  1. Warner Bros. — $4.95 ($3.1; $1.85)
  2. Disney — $4.68 ($3.0; $1.68)
  3. Universal – $3.68 ($2.26; $1.42)
  4. Fox — $3.39 ($2.33; $1.06)
  5. Sony — $3.02 ($1.90; $1.12)
  6. Lionsgate — $2.32 ($1.25; $1.07)
  7. Paramount — $2.27 ($1.36; $0.91)

*in billions of $

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