Execs put the Street on notice that Universal‘s movie profits may take a hit this year, but for what they see as a good cause: They expect healthy returns in 2015 from films including Jurassic World (aka Jurassic Park 4), Fast & Furious 7, The Minions (an animated spinoff of the Despicable Me franchise) and Fifty Shades Of Grey. “It’s a little bit of an up-and-down business,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a conference call with analysts to discuss this morning’s Q4 earnings report. NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke assured them, though, that “we have a very strong year” planned for 2015 and “we’re incurring that investment [in 2014] as we gear up.” CFO Michael Angelakis also said that the productions will “absorb some cash,” but he characterized the increased spending as a kind of normalization, noting that last year Comcast went “lighter on the production spend for the 2014 slate.” The company spent $1.16B on capital expenditures for all of NBCU last year — up $397M from 2012 — with much of it going to Harry Potter and Transformers theme park attractions. It expects the level for NBCU to remain “relatively flat” in 2014, with continuing theme park investments.
Chris Pratt In Early Talks For ‘Jurassic World’; Dwayne Johnson & Relativity Set For ‘Not Without Hope’; Hannah Marks Joins ‘Anesthesia’; Harry Hamlin & Irina Bjorklund Spark ‘Erotic Fire’
Chris Pratt is in very early talks for Jurassic World, the 3D sequel that Universal will release June 12, 2015. The actor would play the role Josh Brolin was being eyed for last month. Colin Trevorrow is directing the pic, and he co-wrote the latest draft with Derek Connolly. Steven Spielberg is producing the film with Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley. Pratt next appears in the Vince Vaughn starrer Delivery Man , which opens next weekend. He has a voice role in The Lego Movie and also will star in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. Recent film credits include Zero Dark Thirty and The Five-Year Engagement. Pratt also stars on NBC’s Parks And Recreation. He is repped by CAA and Mosaic.
Dwayne Johnson is attached to star in Not Without Hope for Relativity, which will finance, produce, and distribute the deep-sea survival pic. Johnson will play Nick Schuyler, whose best-selling memoirs form the true-story basis of the film. Pic tracks Schuyler and his three buds, including NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith and ex-college athlete Will Bleakley, whose fishing trip went awry, leaving the foursome adrift off the coast of Florida in 2009.