STUDIO SPOTLIGHT It was a phenomenal twelve months for Universal Pictures in 2000 as the studio which was down on its luck just two years ago scored a record box office tally of $1.09 billion anchored by a tremendous fourth quarter showing. Up 16% over 1999, the studio claimed the year's biggest blockbuster with the holiday smash How The Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey and directed by Ron Howard. Its producer, Imagine Entertainment, also supplied another big hit - Nutty Professor II - which grossed $123.3M. In addition, Universal has brought in $163M to date from the leggy comedy Meet the Parents plus $125.6M from spring's acclaimed Erin Brockovich. DreamWorks and Sony handled the pair overseas.

Universal set a modern box office record by opening five consecutive number one movies and even successfully launched a specialty arm, Universal Focus, with the critical and commercial hit Billy Elliot. At the end of summer, the studio swooped in with the cheerleader comedy Bring It On and scored major profits with a gross about seven times its budget. But expensive flops were also on the menu as The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle both failed miserably. Also ignored were the comedies Isn't She Great and Screwed. But decent coin was contributed by The Hurricane, U-571, and The Family Man.