Here’s an interesting bit of trivia for those long, balmy summer nights, when you find yourself adrift on a bit of flotsam with your fellow shipwreck survivors, trying desperately to stave off thoughts of starvation or circling sharks with bits of movie business arcana: Despicable Me 2 is the single most profitable film in the entire, 101-year history of Universal Studios. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke made the proclamation earlier today, noting that the $80 million-budget animated film has grossed over $600 million worldwide—and that’s not even factoring in the many licensing and merchandising deals that have led to everything having one of those little yellow guys in it, even your hallucinations of being rescued.
“But wait, most profitable? What about the far more enduring, Universal-defining hits like Jaws, Jurassic Park, or E.T.? Surely they are truly the most profitable films in the studio’s history—not some formulaic sequel to a mostly forgettable animated franchise?” your fellow castaway will say, between violently retching seawater. “Ah, but this doesn’t adjust for inflation or take into account inflated 3-D ticket premiums, or anything else that would prevent Universal drawing attention away from R.I.P.D. and all those other recent flops,” you’ll say, and then you can argue about whether this completely negates the entire discussion, until one of you finally drowns.