Paramount Pictures announced today that the studio has surpassed $2 billion at the international box office, just 50 days after passing $1 billion on June 10th. The feat marks the second consecutive year in which Paramount has grossed $2 billion at the international box office, achieving the mark on Saturday July 30th, five months earlier than their prior record in 2008. Paramount is the first studio to pass the $2 billion mark in international box office in 2011. The feat establishes 2011 as Paramount Pictures International's (PPI) biggest ever year, with five months of highly-anticipated releases still to come.
The news comes just one week after Paramount's 3D Transformers: Dark of the Moon became the first ever Paramount-produced title to cross $500 million at the international box office; as well as becoming PPI's highest grossing international release of all-time. Michael Bay's sequel then went on to become the first Paramount film to surpass the $600 million mark at the international box office.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon launched internationally on June 29th and concluded its international roll-out over the weekend in Japan, where it claimed a #1 opening of $10.7 million (including previews). The smash-hit film has fuelled PPI's second billion in 2011 with an international gross of $646.8 million through July 31st.
"Our team has made creating a best-in-class international operation a cornerstone of our business," said Paramount Pictures Chairman & CEO Brad Grey. "I'm grateful for everyone's hard work across the globe that helped us achieve this milestone once again."
"We are delighted to hit the $2 billion threshold so quickly this year," said PPI President Andrew Cripps. "Credit has to go to the fantastic films we have had to release this year as well as the talented marketing and distribution teams working on Paramount films around the world."
The weekend also saw PPI's first main wave of releases for Marvel Studios' Captain America: The First Avenger, directed by Joe Johnston, releasing in 23 international markets (including the UK, Russia, Australia, Korea, Mexico and Brazil) one week after its international debut in Italy. The film claimed an impressive $49.1 million at the weekend and has an early international cumulative gross of $53.9 million. Marvel Studios' Thor, directed by Kenneth Branagh, has already contributed a thunderous $267.4 million to PPI's 2011 grosses.
Paramount has seen strong early success with J.J. Abrams' Super 8, grossing $59.7 million so far. The adventure film has yet to open in 20 international markets, including UK/Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Mexico and Brazil.
Kung Fu Panda 2 now holds records as the highest grossing animated film of all-time in eight Asian markets, including China and Korea, and has yet to open in Japan and Italy (both launching later in August).
Paramount's $2 billion 2011 has been built on a strong variety of titles, including Paramount's first in-house animated production Rango, directed by Gore Verbinski, which led first quarter business as it grossed $119.6 million at the international box office, with Japan still to release October 22nd.
Paul Weitz's Little Fockers, the hit third film in the Meet the Parents franchise, earned $105.3 million of its $162.2 million international total in 2011; and Paramount saw two very strong first quarter performers with the Coen Brothers' Academy Award-nominated western True Grit ($79.9 million) and Ivan Reitman's hit romantic comedy No Strings Attached ($77.6 million).
PPI's unrivalled 2011 line-up still has plenty yet to come this year, starting with the international roll-out of Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens, which releases internationally in August. Craig Brewer's modern update of Footloose, opens internationally beginning in October; while October 21st will see the highly-anticipated Paranormal Activity 3, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, provide international audiences with the next installment in the smash-hit horror franchise; October 26th sees the first launches of Steven Spielberg's highly-anticipated The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, which Paramount releases in English-language markets and multiple Asian markets; and cinemas are set for feline-fever this winter season as DreamWorks Animation's Puss in Boots, directed by Chris Miller, swash-buckles onto the screen. PPI's year then reaches an explosive conclusion with Academy Award-winner Brad Bird's live action directorial debut, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol starring Tom Cruise in December.