Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) has passed $1 billion in international box office grosses, the company announced on Wednesday, marking the second time in its history after 1997 when Men In Black, My Best Friend's Wedding and Jerry Maguire pushed the studio past the billion mark.

The announcement came Wednesday, just over two weeks before the end of the year, from Jeff Blake, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.

Leading the charge for CTFDI, which this year saw a change in management following the departure of president Duncan Clark and the arrival of domestic chief Blake as overseer of both domestic and international divisions, was Stuart Little which grossed an impressive $158m.

Erin Brockovich, international rights to which CTFDI bought from Universal Pictures, took $131m; The Patriot grossed $102m and Hollow Man a whopping $116m. Charlie's Angels currently stands at $86m and will exceed $100m by the end of December.

Blake attributes the year's success to CTMPG's new global release strategy which saw day-and-date releases for The Patriot, Hollow Man and Charlie's Angels around the world, capitalising on a global marketing effort which, said a statement, "allows these titles to significantly abet the studio's cash flow, avert piracy and move up ancillary windows such as home video and television."

Stuart Little, on the other hand, was released during different school holidays in various territories.

Domestic comparisons are startling. Stuart Little grossed $140m, Erin Brockovich grossed $125.6m, The Patriot took $113.3m, Hollow Man $73m and Charlie's Angels $115.7m to date.