Paramount domestic ticket sales pass $1 billion

Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:07am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paramount Pictures said on Monday it had topped $1 billion in sales at U.S. and Canadian box offices, boosted by hit films "Iron Man" and the latest "Indiana Jones" saga, and become the first studio to pass that benchmark this year.

The announcement came hard on the heels of the disappointing opening for its new Mike Myers comedy "The Love Guru," which earned just $13.9 million during the weekend. Hollywood pundits had expected it to open in the $20 million range.

Last week, the Viacom Inc-owned studio surpassed the $1 billion mark in international ticket sales.

The superhero saga "Iron Man" has now grossed $305 million domestically (U.S. and Canada), while director Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" has pulled in $291 million. Paramount has also benefited from the cartoon "Kung Fu Panda," which has made $156 million after three weekends.

The studio did not produce any of the movies, but receives a fee for distributing them. "Iron Man" was produced by Marvel Entertainment Inc's Marvel Studios, "Indiana Jones" by George Lucas' Lucasfilm, and "Kung Fu Panda" by DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

But Paramount did produce "The Love Guru," partnering on the $60 million project with independent producer Spyglass Entertainment. Critics ripped Myers' portrayal of a Deepak Chopra-style New Age Svengali.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte, Dean Goodman and Andre Grenon)

<p>An entrance at Paramount Pictures studios is seen in the Hollywood portion of Los Angeles, California, November 4, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>