Chief executive says animation and franchises are key for Universal

Acknowledging that the movie business is "not for the faint of heart," NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke said he'd like to see more animation  and more franchise films out of Universal in the years ahead.

"We've had our ups and downs for the last 18 months," Burke said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Investor Conference in Beverly Hills on Thursday. Among Universal's disappointments this year were "Battleship" and "The Five-Year Engagement."

But "Ted" was a smash and "The Lorax" and "The Bourne Legacy" delivered solid numbers.

"We'd like to see 'Ted 2' as soon as we can," Burke said.

Burke is hoping for more from the Universal Pictures-backed animation shop Illumination Entertainment. The plan is for Illumination to go from making one film every 18 months to two a year, Burke said. Next year, Illumination will release a sequel to "Despicable Me."

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-- Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times

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