Powered by the successesof The Da Vinci Code, Click, and the current number one picture TalladegaNights, Sony Pictures Entertainmenthas crossed $1bn at the domestic box office for the fifth consecutive year.
The result gives thestudio unique distinction of being the only one in Hollywood to gross more than$6bn since 2002.
Sony is currently thedomestic market leader on 18% of North American ticket sales and was the numberone ranking studio in 2002 and 2004.
Studio chiefs also pointedout their eight number one releases in the year-to-date. Apart from the threeaforementioned titles, the others are RV, Pink Panther, ScreenGems' Underworld: Evolution and WhenA Stranger Calls, and TriStarPictures' Silent Hill.
No studio has everreleased more than nine in a calendar year, but Sony has its eye on the prizewith a line-up for the remainder of the year that includes Columbia and MGM's CasinoRoyale, Columbia's The Grudge 2, Gridiron Gang, The Pursuit Of Happyness,Marie Antoinette and SonyPictures Animation's Open Season.
"With the exceptionallystrong slate Sony has remaining in 2006, we believe we will have one of thebiggest years in the history of the motion picture industry," Jeff Blake,chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for the Columbia TriStarMotion Picture Group and vice-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said.
"A year like this doesn'thappen by chance. The production team worked with some of the best filmmakersin the business to deliver a great line up of films in 2006 and the marketingand distribution teams have made the most of it."