Paramount was top gun in 2011 market share, claiming the domestic crown with $1.96 billion, and winning the world with a global tally of $5.17 billion.
That’s boosted by a colossal overseas total of $3.21 billion, marking the first time any studio has crossed $3 billion internationally in a single year.
Domestically, the studio breaks a three-year domestic winning streak by Warner Bros., which earned runner-up honors with an estimated $1.83 billion in 2011.
Overall, domestic box office for 2011 is $10.23 billion, down 2.2% from 2010’s $10.46 billion.
Par’s top grossers included its first worldwide billion-dollar pic “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” as well as DreamWorks Animation toons “Kung Fu Panda 2” ($665 million) and “Puss in Boots” ($420 million) and Marvel pair “Thor” ($449 million) and “Captain America: The First Avenger” ($369 million).
Warners and Disney — the second- and third-ranking studios globally — also had $1 billion worldwide pics, along with “Transformers.” Warner’s “Harry Potter” finale reached that milestone, as did the Mouse’s fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” installment, “On Stranger Tides.”
Warner’s $1.83 billion total lands the studio in the top two domestically for the eighth time in the past 11 years. Disney, meanwhile, saw its second-biggest year ever on the international side, with $2.17 billion.
Another top title for Warners was “The Hangover Part II,” which grossed almost $575 million globally; Disney’s second-best pic after “Pirates,” “Cars 2” collected a total $559 million.
Par topper Brad Grey told Variety, “It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the studio. I’m proud and humble to be leading the studio right now. But it’s really a testament to all our people around the world.”
While having a big slice of the market share pie is a tasty win, it hardly tells the whole story — profitability is the ultimate goal.
Par managed to achieve both: The studio had one of 2011’s most profitable titles in “Paranormal Activity 3,” which cost a reported $5 million (not including marketing costs) and went on to make more than $200 million worldwide.
But thanks to overseas grosses and relatively inexpensive pricetags, some of the other studios also had profitable hits.
Fox, which was the only major studio not to cross $1 billion domestically, did well with several pics, led by a $487 million global gross for first-quarter toon “Rio.”
Fox also successfully relaunched two franchises: Worldwide, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” scored $482 million, while “X-Men: First Class” made $354 million.
On the Sony lot, execs were pleased with its global success of “The Smurfs,” grossing more than $500 million, while blue-chip performer Adam Sandler scored another hit for the studio, “Just Go With It,” which tallied north of $200 million worldwide. (Sony was the only studio without a major franchise installment in 2011; studio will launch both “Men in Black 3” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” this summer.)
Universal had major strengths during the summer, with “Fast Five” grossing nearly $630 million globally and “Bridesmaids,” $288 million.
* Warner Intl. estimates were unavailable Monday; figure provided by alternate source