Sony Pictures Entertainment 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, it was announced today by Jeff Blake, Chairman of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and Vice-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

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 #1 films. Sony was #1 in market share in 2002 and 2004, was #2 in 2003 and the studio is #1 to date in 2006 controlling approximately 18% of all North American ticket sales. Additionally, Sony is the only studio to exceed the $6 billion dollar 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 9 #1 films in a single year. Other hits contributing to the studio's success this year include Monster House, "Benchwarmers" and Little Man.

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"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," said Blake. "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."

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.