With this weekend's #1 release of The Pursuit of Happyness, Sony Pictures Entertainment's box office receipts for 2006 have passed $1.573 billion, setting a new motion picture industry record for domestic box-office in a single year, it was announced by Jeff Blake, chairman, worldwide marketing and distribution for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and vice chairman of SPE. In passing the industry record, which Sony set in 2002, the studio caps an extraordinary year in which SPE released a record-breaking 13 #1 films. The studio also launched 13 films to opening weekends of more than $20 M, another industry record, and surpassed more than $3 billion in global ticket sales for the first time. Sony Pictures now holds the top two years in the all-time domestic box office record books.
Commenting on the achievement, Blake said, "We've set a bar that will be challenging for us - or any studio - to top; this has been an enormous year by anyone's definition. We successfully launched our animation division and we handled nearly every genre of movie, from broad comedies to family films, emotional dramas to event tentpoles. This kind of year is only possible when everyone is working at the top of their game, and our filmmakers really delivered exceptional product this year."
In addition to crediting the actors, producers and filmmakers behind Sony's 2006 slate of 27 motion pictures, Blake said, "This year is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of the studio's production, marketing, and distribution teams who break their backs to bring it home year after year. But particular credit is deserved by our presidents of production Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, president of marketing Valerie Van Galder, our president of creative advertising Josh Goldstine, our president of domestic distribution Rory Bruer, and the leadership of Michael Lynton. Of course, none of this dream slate comes together without Amy Pascal, who has been one of the most successful studio leaders in the history of our company."
2006 marks the third time in the past five years that SPE has been #1 studio in domestic market share. As Sony finishes the year, the studio controls over 18% of all tickets sold in the United States and Canada. Led by The Da Vinci Code, the worldwide blockbuster that has grossed over $750 million at the box office, SPE has seen four films open to more than $40 million in the US and Canada; ultimately, each exceeded more than $100 million in domestic box office - including Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Click, The Da Vinci Code, and Casino Royale. In addition, a record 13 films opened to more than $20 million - smashing the old record of 8 films, set in 2004 by Sony and Universal.