"Considering it's only the third time in the company's 79-year history that we've done it, to do it twice in a row feels pretty good," Jeff Blake, vice chairman of Sony, told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's a real tribute to the strength of our slate."
That's quite an understatement, considering two of the studio's three winning years have been some of the industry's highest grossing. Sony set a record in 2002 when it hit $1.57 billion, breaking its own industry record of $1.27 billion set in 1997.
But while Sony's 2002 win was bolstered by the superhero actioner Spider-Man, which grossed $405 million, this year's wealth is spread out amongst several films. Bad Boys II was the top grossing film for the studio with $138.4 million, followed by Anger Management ($133.8 million), S.W.A.T. ($116.5 million) and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle ($100.8 million).
Sony's specialty arm Screen Gems contributed more than $70 million to the studio's sum, aided by the vampire thriller Underworld, which took in $50.1 million.
The studio still had to absorb its share of flops, including the Harrison Ford starrer Hollywood Homicide, which barely made $30 million, and of course, the biggest turkey of all, Gigli. The Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck hitman drama was laughed out of theaters within two weeks of release with a paltry take of $5.7 million.
But Sony isn't through with 2003 just yet. The studio will be releasing the Ron Howard-directed Western The Missing on Nov. 26; the comedy Something's Gotta Give starring Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves on Dec. 12; and the Julia Roberts starrer Mona Lisa Smile on Dec. 19. The studio will also release director Tim Burton's Big Fish in limited release on Dec. 10, with a wider expansion on Dec. 25.
Disney became the first studio ever to pass the $1 billion mark in 1994 and has since passed the milestone eight times in the past 10 years, more than any other studio, according to The Reporter.
Sony and Warner Bros., on the other hand, each passed the benchmark three times. Other studios to reach the $1 billion mark include Paramount in 1998 and Universal in 2000.