Universal Studios unveils 100th anniversary plans
Universal Studios will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year in large part by restoring and reissuing some of the studio’s classic films, including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Jaws,” “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “The Birds.”
As part of its centennial, the former studio home of filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock will unveil a new movie logo that will debut on “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” on March 2 and be shown at the start of all Universal films thereafter.
One of the most tangible aspects of the anniversary, outside of the logo and a new historical focus on the tram tour attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, will be the studio’s efforts to restore 13 films and introduce a 100th anniversary collector’s series on DVD. It is unclear if some, or any, of the restored films will be released theatrically.
The slate of restored films is rounded out by “Dracula,” “Dracula Spanish,” “Frankenstein,” “Schindler’s List,” “Out of Africa,” “Pillow Talk,” “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Sting.”
“I have four kids,” said Ron Meyer, Universal’s president and chief operating officer, “and they haven’t seen ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ or ‘Pillow Talk.’” He is hopeful that the centenary work will “reintroduce our audience to films they wouldn’t know.”
At the studio’s theme parks, 100th anniversary materials will be highlighted in a new “entertainment experience” in Orlando, Fla., and a new focus on the studio’s filmmaking legacy at Universal City.
Universal Film Manufacturing Co. was incorporated on April 30, 1912. The studio has passed through several owners over the last few years and is now controlled by Comcast Corp. as a majority holder and General Electric as a minority owner.
The studio’s 2012 lineup features several ambitious, expensive productions, including “Battleship,” “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “47 Ronin.”
— John Horn
Photo: Gregory Peck stars as small-town Southern attorney Atticus Finch, who defends a black man accused of rape, in 1962's "To Kill a Mockingbird," which is to be restored and reissued on DVD as part of Universal's centenary celebration. Credit: Universal Studios