Sony's $3 bil tops global b.o.

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Sony Pictures Entertainment said Thursday that it has reached $3 billion in worldwide boxoffice this year, a marker hit by only two other studios in movie history.

Warner Bros. Pictures hit that mark in 2004 and '05, while Walt Disney Pictures achieved the milestone in 2003.

With three weeks left in the year, the studio also is on track to surpass its own and the industry's all-time domestic boxoffice gross of $1.573 billion -- a number it reached in 2002. Internationally, the studio already has eclipsed its best, earning $1.5 billion this year.

"This is the kind of year that is pretty hard to top," said Jeff Blake, chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution at the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and vice chairman of SPE. "Hitting $3 billion in worldwide boxoffice is an incredible accomplishment in every way. The fact that we are reaching this peak by potentially passing the domestic industry boxoffice record while at the same time enjoying our best year ever internationally is just a staggering achievement that makes us all very proud."

Sony expects to finish the year with an 18% market share.

"The Da Vinci Code" marks the studio's top grosser this year at more than $750 million worldwide. Sony has three other films that have crossed the $100 million domestic boxoffice mark: "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," "Click" and the recently released "Casino Royale."

Sony's year isn't over, either. The studio will bow the Nancy Meyers-directed romantic comedy "The Holiday" this weekend, and it opens the Will Smith starrer "The Pursuit of Happyness" on Dec. 15.
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