According to Fox Filmed Entertainment, 2006 saw the studio earn approximately $3.5 billion in movie ticket sales, the biggest worldwide box-office gross for any slate of films in the history of the movie business. The success was led by the animated sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown from Blue Sky Studios, which grossed more than $644 million and was particularly potent overseas.
Despite getting the cold shoulder from many critics, Ice Age: The Meltdown enjoyed a huge $68 million opening in March and went on to take in $195 million domestically and approximately $452 million in foreign markets, having record-breaking runs in a number of countries. In Mexico, for example, the pic made $28 million to surpass DreamWorks’ Shrek 2 as the top-grossing film in the nation’s history. The prehistoric comedy was just nominated for the Producers Guild Award for Best Animated Feature and is eligible for Oscar contention.
Other releases contributing heavily to Fox’s bully year include the trilogy completer X-Men: The Last Stand, which made $458 million worldwide and the filmed adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s best-selling novel The Devil Wears Prada, a $317 million worldwide gem. The studio also owes a debt of gratitude to a pair of modestly budgeted comedies that turned big profits. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was made from around $18 million but brought in $235 million, and Oscar hopeful Little Miss Sunshine made an $86 million return on its tiny $8 million investment.
Fox chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos released a joint statement reading, “We have enormous pride in, and gratitude towards, the thousands of Fox Filmed Entertainment employees here and around the world who have made this historic achievement possible.”
This is the second time Fox has crossed the $2 billion mark in one year. The studio finished out the year strong with the success of the vfx-laden Ben Stiller comedy Night at the Museum, which has grossed more than $127 million domestically in just two weeks. The pic is proving to be a big hit overseas as well, raking in $60 million in only a few international territories.
Fox Filmed Entertainment units include Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox Atomic and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.