Sony gears up to cross $2 billion in overseas box office

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Releasing International will pass $2 billion at the box office this coming weekend, powering Sony Pictures Entertainment to its best-ever box office year worldwide.

2009 marks just the fifth time in motion picture history that any studio will have passed the $2 billion milestone internationally, following Paramount in 2008, Warner Bros. in 2007 and 2004, and Twentieth Century Fox in 2006.

Worldwide, through Wednesday, SPE has already taken in $3.357 billion at the box office, surpassing the studio’s previous worldwide boxoffice record of $3.334 billion from 2006.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing & Distribution chairman Jeff Blake said, "Even in the midst of an economy that continues to challenge our industry, this has been a tremendous year in just about every way we can imagine. First and foremost, we have had an extremely strong slate of films built by Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton and the Columbia, Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Animation production teams led by Doug Belgrad, Matt Tolmach, Clint Culpepper and Hannah Minghella. Credit goes to them and the outstanding filmmakers they have championed this year. We have also been well served and supported by the extraordinarily creative and resourceful marketing and distribution teams we’ve built in markets all around the world – this studio’s record-breaking achievement would not have been possible without their hard work and support."

In recent weeks, SPRI has pushed toward the $2 billion landmark with 2012, which will pass $500 million internationally this weekend ($620 million worldwide box office to date). SPRI’s other films this year include Angels & Demons ($352.6 million), Terminator Salvation ($220.6 million), District 9 ($69.4 million), The Ugly Truth ($114.2 million), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 ($86.4 million) and Seven Pounds ($99.3 million). Finally, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, which ended its run in most territories on Tuesday, took in $180.0 million internationally (more than $250 million worldwide).

In North America, Sony Pictures released eight #1 films in 2009 and has taken in more than $1.370 billion to date. Overseas, SPRI has generated $1.987 billion through Wednesday (2 December, 2009).