Sony Pictures crosses India milestone

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NEW DELHI -- Mumbai-based Sony Pictures Releasing of India said Thursday it has carved out more than 1 billion rupees ($22 million) in gross ticket sales this year, marking the third time the studio has passed the billion rupee tally.

Released on almost 500 prints -- the highest ever for any Hollywood film here -- "Casino Royale" helped drive this year's tally, setting a record for a Hollywood release by grossing 100 million rupees ($2.2 million) in its first two days of release. SPRI said that since its Nov. 17 release, the film has pulled in 330 million rupees ($7.3 million).

SPRI, which also handles Disney product in India, had a good run with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," which slashed its way to 31 million rupees ($680,000), and with "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe," which collected 24 million rupees ($530,000 million), while Sony's own "The Da Vinci Code" picked up 30 million rupees ($660,000).

SPRI's Uday Singh said, "We are extremely proud to be the only studio to ever reach this boxoffice pinnacle and thrice in a short span of four years." SPRI India also exceeded 1 billion rupees in 2002 and 2004.
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