Buena VistaInternational (BVI) has passed $1bn in international ticket sales for thisyear, making it the only distributor to achieve the distinction eight years ina row. In addition three of the 50 titles BVI handled in 2002 - Monsters Inc,Signs and Lilo & Stitch - grossed more than $100m each.

Disney/Pixar'sMonsters Inc was the highest grossing picture on BVI's slate this yearwith $239.6m for 2002 and a total of $268.4m since its release last Christmas.BVI said the picture is now the most successful CGI animated title in industryhistory and the fourth most popular animated title ever releasedinternationally. In Japan it was the biggest US-produced animated title of alltime and took $71.8m. Overall it is the second biggest grossing picture of theyear to be released in the territory, behind Warner Bros' Harry PotterAnd The Chamber Of Secrets.

M NightShyamalan's thriller supernatural thriller Signs has earned $172.8m to date at theinternational box office. It is still active in 10 territories and according toBVI ranked as the top international attraction during the autumn releaseseason. Lilo & Stitch, which became the third BVI picture to pass $100m in 2002 overthe weekend, still has some way to go and is scheduled to roll out in Japanduring the highly lucrative Golden Week holiday season next spring.

The studio alsohighlighted the performance of the Peter Pan sequel Return To Never Land, which to date has grossed $40m. Itopens in Japan at the end of December during the significant Shogatsu holidaycinema-going season.

BVI presidentMark Zoradi, who made the announcement today, said several factors contributedto the distributor's annus mirabilis. "We owe this year'ssuccess to a combination of sensational mix of product, both live action andanimated, coupled with the marketing and distribution expertise of BVI'sentire organsation," Zoradi said in a statement.

BVI will be hoping forcontinued success through the ongoing international roll-outs of the ReeseWitherspoon comedy-romance Sweet Home Alabama, the Tim Allen comedy The Santa Clause 2 and the launch of Treasure Planet in Latin America and most of Europe and Asia. Next yearsees the release of Disney's Oscar-winning The Lion King exclusively in IMAX and other large screen formattheatres around the world. Other pictures include Spike Lee's drama 25thHour; Rob Schneider comedy TheHot Chick; the Al Pacino/ColinFarrell-starring CIA thriller The Recruit; Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson in Shanghai Knights; and The Jungle Book 2.