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Sony Pictures reaches $3 billion worldwide box office for the first time

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MUMBAI: While its electronics division is in trouble one area where Sony has been doing really well in is in films. For the first time in its history, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has crossed more than $3 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

As had been reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com, in India Sony crossed the Rs 1 billion mark for the third time in four years.

This marks the fourth time in history that any studio has reached the $3 billion mark in a single year. Internationally, the studio has already realised its best year of all time, with just under $1.5 billion and counting. Domestically, the studio has already passed more than $1.5 billion and is on pace to surpass $1.573 billion, the most any studio has ever generated at the box office in a single year in North America, a record held by Sony since 2002.

2006 marks the third time in the past five years that SPE has been the number one studio in the US in terms of share. As Sony finishes the year, the studio controls over 18 per cent of all tickets sold in the US and Canada. Led by The DaVinci Code, the worldwide blockbuster that has grossed over $750 million at the box office, SPE has seen four films exceed more than $100 million in domestic box office -- including Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Click, The DaVinci Code, Casino Royale -- and five more have surpassed the $100 million worldwide threshold (Pink Panther, Monster House, Open Season, Underworld: Evolution and Little Man).

Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group chairman worldwide marketing and distribution Jeff Blake says, "This is the kind of year that is pretty hard to top. Hitting $3 billion in worldwide box office is an incredible accomplishment in every way. The fact that we are reaching this peak by potentially passing the domestic industry box office record while at the same time enjoying our best year ever internationally is just a staggering achievement that makes us all very proud.

"This isn't the result of just one film -- our entire slate really worked this year, and credit for our success goes first and foremost to the extraordinary filmmakers and actors that brought us The DaVinci Code, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Click, Casino Royale, The Pink Panther, Underworld: Evolution, Monster House, Open Season and so many others."'

Blake also credited "The remarkable talent and hard work exhibited by our production, marketing, and distribution teams. Today, we're celebrating and thanking everyone who played a part in the success of our 2006 slate worldwide."

The studio reached its achievement in a year that featured a record 12 films opening at number one and strong performances from all the labels under the Sony Pictures Entertainment banner: Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Revolution Studios, TriStar Pictures, and co-productions in association with MGM.

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