Hollywood drives Canadian b.o. up in '08

'Dark Knight' was biggest draw with $40.5 mil

TORONTO -- Tinseltown continues to dominate the Canadian boxoffice.

Total Canadian boxoffice in 2008 rose to CAN$920.4 million ($735.2 million), compared with CAN$904 million in 2007, according to the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, which represents domestic exhibitors. But Canadian films raked in just CAN$26 million ($20.7 million) in ticket receipts, down from CAN$28 million the year prior.

About CAN$815 million ($651 million) of the 2008 total came from Hollywood, according to MPTAC, with another CAN$67.4 million ($53.9 million) coming from indie releases and CAN$12.1 million ($9.6 million) from French movies that played theatrically in Quebec.

In a country that represents roughly 10% of the North American market, the biggest Canadian boxoffice draw last year was Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight," with CAN$50.7 million ($40.5 million) in receipts, followed by Paramount's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ($22.6 million) and "Iron Man" ($21.2 million).

The market share for U.S. films in Canada last year was 89%, up from 87% in 2007. The slice of the pie for English-language Canadian films held steady at 0.9%, while the market share for French-language films from Quebec fell from 3.2% in 2007 to 2% last year.

Alliance Films' "Passchendale," a homegrown war epic, at CAN$4.43 million ($3.5 million) in receipts, accounted for roughly half of the $8.88 million ($7.1 million) in boxoffice last year derived from 66 English-language films released domestically.

French-language films from Quebec included Alliance Films' "Cruising Bar 2" with CAN$3.46 million ($2.7 million) in boxoffice, followed by Alliance Films' "Babine" with CAN$2.23 million ($1.78 million) in receipts.
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