At the half-way point in thecalendar year, official figures released by Nielsen EDI show North American boxoffice to be tracking 5% ahead of the same period last year.

Chief drivers areDreamworks' Shrek 2 on $418.5m,Newmarket's The Passion Of The Christ on $370.2m, Sony's Spider-Man 2 on $256.4m, and Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Prisoner OfAzkaban on $232.8m. Those figuresare at July 12.

At July 8, the cumulativebox office is $4.89bn compared to $4.52bn for the same period last year.

Nielsen's rankings placeWarner Bros in pole position, although Sony is expected to catapault to the toponce Spider-Man 2 grosses arefactored into the equation.

Buena Vista resides in sixthplace and is in the middle of a challenging year in which many of its releaseshave either flopped or grossed lower than expected.