U lights up summer

Studio sets seasonal record with hit string

The East Coast blackout waited just long enough for Universal to set a studio record for summer box office.

With Wednesday grosses, U surpassed its previous summer record of $665.9 million, set in 2001.

Much of Thursday’s biz was lost due to the dramatic power outage in Eastern cities. But U distribution maven Nikki Rocco was stoked by the knowledge her team had already led the studio to its best-ever summer B.O.

“This remarkable achievement could have not happened without the completely unified, perfectly orchestrated efforts of our incredibly passionate and tenacious production, marketing and distribution teams,” Rocco said.

Among U’s summertime feats was an unprecedented string of three consecutive $50 million-plus movie openings with “Bruce Almighty” ($85.7 million), “2 Fast 2 Furious” ($50.5 million) and “The Hulk” ($62 million). And “American Wedding” repped a fourth No. 1 bow for U this summer when it opened with $33.4 million earlier this month.

Distrib’s other seasonal releases have included “Seabiscuit,” which so far has grossed $73.8 million domestically, and U/Working Title’s “Johnny English,” which has rung up $26.5 million.