Universal to expand film slate by 4 annually

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures says it is increasing its release slate by four films per year after a record-breaking run at the international box office.

Its Focus Features unit will now release 10 films annually, up from six. Spokeswoman Cindy Gardner says Universal's total slate will rise to about 26 to 28 per year from 22 to 24.

Focus had focused on niche fare like this summer's comedy, "The World's End." It will broaden its purview after also naming a new CEO, Peter Schlessel, on Wednesday. Schlessel, who starts in January, is chief executive of Film District, a small distributor that released films such as "Insidious: Chapter 2" and "Olympus Has Fallen."

Outgoing Focus CEO James Schamus is leaving to produce an upcoming Ang Lee film about boxing.

Universal is having a strong run in theaters globally this year. The studio surpassed $2 billion in overseas receipts in September for the first time in its 101-year history, led by hits like "Fast & Furious 6" and "Despicable Me 2."


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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