Warner Bros Pictures Group is on course to reach a global box office industry record of $3.99bn for the 2009 reporting year, beating its previous industry mark of $3.66bn set in 2007.

According to studio projections Warner Bros Pictures’ domestic gross will reach $2.13bn, surpassing the industry record of $1.789bn set by the studio in 2008.

Warner Bros Pictures International is projected to reach $1.86bn year-end gross. This will mark the ninth consecutive billion-dollar year for both the domestic and international divisions.

In 2009 Warner Bros opened nine films at number one in North America, staying top for a total of 12 weeks: Gran Torino, He’s Just Not That Into You, Friday The 13th,Watchmen, 17 Again, The Hangover, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, The Final Destination, and Where The Wild Things Are.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (pictured) was the key driver for the year, earning $632m overseas and $302m domestically for $934m worldwide. It was the biggest film of the year globally and ranks as the second highest Harry Potter release in North America and the third highest internationally.

Four other films crossed $100m internationally in 2009: Yes Man on $132m, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Buttonon $205m, Gran Torino on $121m, and The Hangover– the highest R-rated comedy in history in North America and overseas – on $190m.

Four other films crossed $100m domestically: Watchmen on $107m, Terminator Salvation on $125m, The Hangover on $277m, and The Blind Side, which has reached $185m and will cross $200m. Sherlock Holmes opened on December 25 and is a sure bet to cross $100m based on its early pace.

Warner Bros’ 2010 releases include New Line’s Valentine’s Day starring Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner and Jamie Foxx; Clash Of The Titans starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes; New Line’s Sex And The City 2; Christopher Nolan’s Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio; and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1.

“We’re really proud of this achievement, and it was only possible through the combined efforts of an incredibly talented group of people, including everyone involved with the creation, production, marketing and distribution of more than two dozen films worldwide over the last 12 months,” Warner Bros Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov said. 

“We have a great team leading our global efforts, including Sue Kroll, Dan Fellman and Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, and along with Barry Meyer and Alan Horn, I congratulate everyone involved in helping us attain this success and look forward to continuing our creative and commercial winning streak.”