Paramount Set to Become Fastest Studio to $1 Billion–Again

2007 was a remarkable year for Paramount Pictures. Fueled by lucrative titles, many from the pipeline of Dreamworks, the studio reached $1 billion in domestic box office for the calendar year on July 9, earlier than any distributor ever surpassed that threshold. That amazing run was led by Shrek The Third, Transformers, Blades of Glory, NorbitDisturbia and Dreamgirls, which were all products of the Spielberg-Katzenberg-Geffen triumvirate.

Paramount is enjoying an even better 2008, and the Melrose gang will likely crack $1 Billion domestic about 19 days earlier than in 2007. With the spectacular opening for Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda this weekend, Paramount is assured of its third consecutive $200M grossing film, a record in itself, and I am estimating that the studio will top $1 billion sometime on June 20. That is the day that the distrib’s next film, Mike MyersThe Love Guru, will hit theatres. It is quite possible that Paramount will technically pass a billion in sales earlier in the week of June 16, but opening day of The Love Guru will certainly put them over the top.

Last year, Paramount led all Hollywood studios with $1.49M in domestic box office, but their second half was riddled with under-performing titles like Stardust ($38.6M cume), Hot Rod ($13.9M cume), The Heartbreak Kid ($36.7M), Things We Lost in the Fire ($3.2M cume) and Beowulf ($82.2M cume).

Still set for release in 2008 for Paramount are the much buzzed-about Tropic Thunder in August, Disturbia director DJ Caruso‘s re-teaming with Shia LaBeouf in Eagle Eye in September, Dreamworks’ Madagascar sequel in November and David Fincher‘s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, in December. With a lineup like that, Paramount could become the first studio in history with $2 billion in total domestic sales in a calendar year.