Paramount Pictures International (PPI) has become the first company to reach the milestone for international ticket sales in a calendar year, a fitting testament to the strategic mastery of former president Andrew Cripps.

The annual haul, which could rise as high as $3.2bn by the end of the year thanks to the superb early performance of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, leads the studios (see below) and includes $771m outside North America for Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (pictured) – the biggest Paramount release of all time.

Highlights include Kung Fu Panda on $501m, Thor on $269m, Captain America on $192m and Puss In Boots on $203.5m and counting.

Ghost Protocol launched last weekend in the first wave of international markets on just over $69m. The action release opens in Brazil and Mexico among other markets this weekend and is expected to stay top of the international marketplace over the holiday weekend.

Cripps stepped down recently after he declined to relocate his family from London when Paramount announced it would centralise international distribution leadership in Los Angeles. He was replaced by the experienced former head of Disney international distribution Anthony Marcoly.

Turning to the other studios:

  • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International reported $2.18bn as of Dec 21. Top performers were Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on $802.6m, Cars 2 on $368.3m, Tangled on $282.5m ($389.8m including 2010 gross), Real Steel on $195m and counting and Tron: Legacy on $128m ($227.9m including 2010 gross.)
  • Fox International reported $2.05bn as of Dec 17 with The Darkest Hour, Alvin And The Chipmunks 3 and We Bought A Zoo still to open in a sizeable chunk of markets this year.

The company’s top titles are Rio on $343.9m, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes on $306.1m, Black Swan on $222.5m ($222.7m total including 2010), X-Men: First Class on $209m, Gulliver’s Travels on $159m ($196.4m total) and The Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader on $115.7m ($313.8m total).

  • Sony Pictures Releasing International reported $1.79bn as of Dec 20. The Smurfs grossed $416.6m ($419.9m including other distributors) and The Adventures Of Tintin took $171.7m ($239.1m including PPI and other distributors).

The Tourist grossed $140.7m ($158.4m total from SPRI including 2010, rising to $211.1m including other distributors), The Green Hornet took $129.2m and Battle Los Angeles generated $128.5m.

  • Universal Pictures International reached $1.23bn. The lead film was Fast And Furious Five on $418.4m, followed by Johnny English Reborn on $153m, Bridesmaids on $119.4m, Hop on $79.8m and The Adjustment Bureau on $65.9m.

Warner Bros Pictures International had not provided information at time of writing, however Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was by far the biggest international release of 2011 on approximately $947m.