Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) will cross $3bn in worldwideticket sales on Friday Dec 8, marking the first time the company will haveachieved the feat.

Thiswill be only the fourth time in motion picture history that any studio hasreached the $3bn mark in a single year.

Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) is enjoying a recordyear and has generated just shy of $1.5bn, while the domestic divisions are oncourse to overtake its 2002 industry record of $1.573bn.

The Da Vinci Code has been the company's key driver of the year and grossed morethan $750m worldwide. Three other releases each crossed $100m domestically - TalladegaNights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Click, and Casino Royale - while The Pink Panther, Monster House, Open Season,Underworld: Evolution andLittle Man have eachcrossed $100m worldwide.

2006 marks the third time in the past five years that SPE has beenthe top studio in domestic market share. Following 12 number one domestic openingsthis year, Sony currently has more than 18% market share.

"This is the kind of year that is pretty hard to top,"Jeff Blake, chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for the Columbia TriStarMotion Picture Group and vice chairman of SPE, said.

"The fact that we are reaching this peak by potentiallypassing the domestic industry box office record while at the same time enjoyingour best year ever internationally is just a staggering achievement that makesus all very proud."

The gross may rise significantly before year's end with theupcoming releases of The Holiday (domestic only) and The Pursuit Of Happyness.