EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) top brass reported significant year-on-year gains in China in 2013 as the company registered its third biggest year overall at the international box office.

China was the stand-out of the BRIC markets and indeed the only one where box office increased from 2012 in USD terms – although Russia was virtually flat – as SPRI’s $212.7m haul gained 21.8% on $174.6m from the previous year. In terms of local currency, CNY 1.31bn climbed 18.5% against CNY 1.11bn in 2012.

The studio’s top five releases in China were Skyfall on $60.4m (CNY 376.8m), After Earth on $34.4m (CNY 211.2m), White House Down on $27.6m (CNY 169.4m), Elysium on $25.7m (CNY 156.9m) and The Smurfs 2 on $21.8m (CNY 133.6m).

The studio’s Russian box office reached $180.1m compared to $181.7m in 2012 for a 0.9% decline. The local currency equivalent delivered a 2.3% increase as RUB 5.8bn gained on the year-ago level of RUB 5.7bn. Russia delivered SPRI’s two biggest local language hits in the form of Stalingrad and Messenger From Heaven on $67.2m and $5.5m, respectively.

SPRI’s Brazilian take reached $75.2m against $136.1m in 2012 for a 44.7% drop, while the local currency BRL 167.23m total fell 36% against BRL 261.17m in 2012. Finally, $14.4m from India declined 64% compared to $40.1m in the year before. The local currency decline was marginally lower as INR 2.18bn in 2012 fell 63.3% to INR 799.18m.

Overall box office for SPRI releases in 2013 is projected to finish on $1.91bn by year’s end, which represents the company’s third best year behind $2.67bn in 2012 and $2.14bn in 2009.

The Smurfs 2 (pictured) was the key driver on $275m and Django Unchained came in second on $262.5m.

Elysium generated $192.7m, followed by After Earth on $183.9m, White House Down on $132.3m.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 remains active on $125m, while Grown Ups 2 took $113.4m and Captain Phillips stands at $106.8m and counting..