Sony Pictures Releasing International crossed the $1 billion mark in overseas box office receipts in record time for the company, it was announced by Jeff Blake, Chairman of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.
SPRI hit the billion dollar mark on Thursday, August 24. The previous record for the studio was September 8, 2002, the year the studio grossed its record high overseas take of $1.305 billion. It marks the sixth time overall and the fifth time in the past seven years that SPRI has amassed more than $1 billion in ticket sales from international territories.
In 2006 to date, films from Sony Pictures Entertainment have generated approximately $2.1 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
While the studio reached a company record of $2.878 billion worldwide in 2002, with strong upcoming titles including the 21st James Bond adventure Casino Royale, Will Smith's The Pursuit of Happyness, Gridiron Gang starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Monster House, Click, Sony Pictures Animation's first feature Open Season, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, and the Will Ferrell comedy Stranger than Fiction, Sony Pictures expects 2006 to be one of the best years in its history on both a domestic and overseas basis.
"This is a marvelous achievement for any studio. Our filmmakers really delivered the goods and were committed to making the extra effort to promote their titles overseas, which is critical in this ultra competitive environment," said Paul Smith, President of Worldwide Theatrical Operations for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. "We have one of the most gifted and creative international distribution and marketing teams in the business and their hard work helped us hit the magic $1 billion mark in record time."
"We're proud of our people all around the world who formulate and execute release strategies with precision, consistency and great creative energy," said Mark Zucker, President of Distribution for SPRI. "It's been an excellent year so far, and considering the strength of our upcoming releases, I expect 2006 will end as SPRI's best year ever."
Contributing to the record pace overseas was Columbia Pictures' The Da Vinci Code, which was released in May and set a record for the biggest international debut of $154.7 million. The Da Vinci Code opened #1 in each of the 90 territories where the film debuted and has generated more than $535 million to date overseas. The hit mystery thriller is SPRI's highest-grossing film of all time and it became the 10th biggest film ever released internationally on July 23.
Also contributing to the 2006 total overseas were such films as Fun with Dick and Jane and Memoirs of a Geisha.