SPE crosses $1 billion in domestic box office receipts

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has surpassed the $1 billion mark in box office receipts for calendar year 2006, making it the fifth year in a row the studio has reached that milestone at the box office.

The announcement was made by Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution and SPE vice chairman Jeff Blake.

Exceeding more than $1 billion for five consecutive years is a sustained record of box office strength matched by only one other studio, Warner Bros. During the past five years combined, no studio has performed better in North America than Sony Pictures Entertainment. Since January, 2002, the studio has released 37 top films. Sony was number one in market share in 2002 and 2004, was number two in 2003 and the studio is number one to date in 2006 controlling approximately 18 per cent of all North American ticket sales.

Additionally, Sony is the only studio to exceed the $6 billion mark in domestic box office sales between 2002 and 2006.

Contributing to the success of the 2006 slate are eight number one films: Columbia Pictures' The DaVinci Code, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Click, RV, and Pink Panther, Screen Gems' Underworld: Evolution and When a Stranger Calls, and TriStar Pictures' Silent Hill. No studio has ever released more than nine top films in a single year. Other hits contributing to the studio's success this year include Monster House, Benchwarmers and Little Man.

"With the exceptionally strong slate Sony has remaining in 2006, we believe we will have one of the biggest years in the history of the motion picture industry. A year like this doesn't happen by chance. The production team worked with some of the best filmmakers in the business to deliver a great line up of films in 2006 and the marketing and distribution teams have made the most of it," said Blake.

Sony Pictures expects to add significantly to the $1 billion figure during the remainder of the year with such highly anticipated upcoming releases as Screen Gems' thriller The Covenant, Columbia's dramas Gridiron Gang, All the King's Men, Marie Antoinette and The Pursuit of Happyness, Sony Pictures Animation's first feature-length family adventure comedy Open Season, Columbia's horror thriller The Grudge 2, Stranger Than Fiction and Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy The Holiday and Columbia and MGM's James Bond action adventure Casino Royale.

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