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Universal Pictures is having quite a year
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Chris Pratt is surrounded by raptors in "Jurassic World." - photo by Jeff Peterson
Its hard to believe that in a year where Disneys movie lineup includes an Avengers sequel, two Pixar releases and Star Wars: Episode VII that another studio might still come out on top as 2015s overall box-office champ.

But, to put it mildly, this has been a banner year for Universal Pictures.

With four months to go, Universal has already broken the record for cumulative box office for a single studio in a year, having pulled in more than $5.5 billion worldwide, according to CNN.

The 103-year-old studio behind classics like Dracula, Psycho, Jaws and E.T. likewise set a new record for overseas markets. Of its overall $5.5 billion haul, around $3.8 billion (just shy of 70 percent) has come from foreign ticket sales. By itself, Furious 7 Universals first big hit of the year generated $1.16 billion overseas ($1.51 billion including domestic gross), making it the first movie not directed by James Cameron to cross $1 billion outside of the U.S.

Factoring in domestic box office, two other Universal releases have also crossed the $1 billion line. Holding the top spot at $1.64 billion worldwide, Jurassic World managed to beat out Marvels The Avengers ($1.52 billion) as the third highest-grossing movie of all time after Avatar ($2.79 billion) and Titanic ($2.19 billion), while Minions ($1.05 billion) surpassed The Lion King ($987 million) to make it the third highest-grossing animated movie of all time after Frozen ($1.27 billion) and Toy Story 3 ($1.06 billion).

Universals other top-grossers include the musical comedy Pitch Perfect 2 ($285 million worldwide), which earned more in its opening weekend than the original Pitch Perfect did in its entire domestic release, as well as a string of R-rated hits like Fifty Shades of Grey ($570 million), Ted 2 ($190 million), Straight Outta Compton ($141 million) and Trainwreck ($129 million).

Noticeably absent from Universals lineup, though, are two of Hollywoods favorite genres right now: superhero movies and young adult adaptations.

Before anyone leaps to the conclusion that this could mark the end of the era of costume-wearing heroes dominating the box office, it should be remembered that Avengers: Age of Ultron is still the second highest-grossing movie of the year so far.

Rather, if there is a lesson to be learned from Universals remarkable year of movies, it might be that audiences are open to more diverse types of entertainment than is sometimes assumed.

It helps, too, that several other major studios are having a downright abysmal year. Sonys biggest hit so far in 2015, for instance, has been Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, which, worldwide, earned just $107 million.

With a third of the year remaining, Universal still has a diverse bunch of titles waiting in the wings, including some heavy hitters like Guillermo del Toros Crimson Peak, the Jake Gyllenhaal mountain climbing drama Everest, Danny Boyles Steve Jobs biopic (titled, appropriately enough, Steve Jobs) and Angelina Jolies next directorial effort, By the Sea, starring Brad Pitt.

Whether or not Universal can hold onto its box-office title in the face of Pixars The Good Dinosaur and a new Star Wars movie, for right now, at least, its safe to say that Universal is having the best year ever.

(Box office data take from Box Office Mojo.)