Sony Pictures Releasing International passed $1.634 billion at the box office on Sunday, making 2009 the highest grossing year of all time internationally for the studio and breaking the division's previous all-time high which it set in 2006, it was announced by Jeff Blake, chairman, Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing and Distribution.
The year has been driven by the success of a number of breakthrough hits in the international marketplace. The studio's most recent blockbuster is 2012, from director Roland Emmerich, which opened this past weekend to more than $165 million internationally ($230.4 million worldwide) and has yet to open in such markets as Japan, where it is expected to perform solidly.
Also contributing to the overseas record is Columbia Pictures' Angels & Demons, which opened in May and has taken in over $352 million in foreign markets. Sony Pictures Releasing International distributed Terminator Salvation in many overseas countries, taking in $220.6 million in SPRI's territories. District 9 proved popular around the world, too, taking in $88 million overseas, including $67.7 million from SPRI territories. Columbia's The Ugly Truth, a modestly budgeted comedy, took in more than $112 million from international audiences (and still going). Finally, Michael Jackson fans around the world have driven Michael Jackson's This Is It to $155.2 million internationally so far and more than $222 million worldwide.
Commenting on the announcement, Blake said, "Our performance this year re-emphasizes the importance of the international marketplace and the enormous value of a release slate with global appeal. We couldn't be more proud of the films we have been privileged to work on this year and our extraordinary success reflects the achievements of our dedicated filmmakers as well as the creativity and innovation of our hardworking marketing and distribution teams all over the world."
In North America, Sony Pictures has released eight #1 movies in 2009 and has currently grossed $1.259 billion in ticket sales. With 2012 expected to continue to perform strongly all over the world, and with several films yet to be released, films from Sony Pictures Entertainment has already generated $2.893 billion worldwide, making 2009 the second-highest-grossing year ever for the studio, passing the $2.878 billion worldwide take from 2002.
SPE is also on track to make 2009 its best year ever worldwide and pass $3.334 billion, the record the studio set in 2006. In addition, SPRI could potentially pass the $2 billion mark at the international box office, an achievement that has been reached by any studio only four times in history.