The Hollywood studio said its domestic box-office tally of $1.12 billion outpaced the record it previously set in 2007, which was $1.099 billion.
Internationally, Universal shattered last year's box-office mark of $1.034 billion, with a 2008 total of $1.714 billion for a year-over-year improvement of 66 percent.
The announcement was made Thursday by Chairman Marc Shmuger and David Linde, co-chairman, of Universal Pictures.
All numbers are estimates and final figures are expected to be available Monday, the studio said.
"If 2007 was a turnaround year for Universal, 2008 proved our studio's ability to consistently deliver the highest quality commercial hits," Shmuger and Linde said in a statement. "To have two successive years of record-breaking success is an incredible achievement, and we thank our teams from around the world that produced, marketed and distributed a slate of films that, again, set a new standard for our studio."
The studio released four films this year that grossed more than $100 million domestically -- "The Incredible Hulk," "Wanted," "Mamma Mia!" and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." In addition, the studio released three comedies -- "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Baby Mama" and "Role Models" -- which grossed more than $60 million apiece domestically after being produced with modest budgets.
Other films on its slate included "Hellboy II," "Changeling" and "Frost/Nixon."