Canadian 2009 boxoffice passes $970 mil

'Transformers 2,' 'Harry Potter' help generate new record

TORONTO -- Harry Potter's broom and Michael Bay's "Transformers 2" helped Canada's boxoffice tally in 2009 pass CAN$1 billion, setting a new record.

The Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada and Zoom Services reported Canadians paid out CAN$1.01 billion ($970 million) for theatre tickets last year, with most of the coin going towards studio releases.

The Canadian performance mirrors the industry stateside, where a string of studio movie hits and raised ticket prices helped Hollywood find boxoffice gold last year, despite the economic downturn.

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" was the top-grossing movie in Canada last year with CAN$34.4 million ($33 million) in boxoffice, followed by "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at CAN$31.5 million ($30.5 million) and "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" at CAN$28 million ($27.2 million).

James Cameron's "Avatar" brought in CAN$27 million ($26.2 million) over the Christmas break at the local multiplex, and continues to generate boxoffce into 2010.

Local movie productions were virtual no-shows at the Canadian multiplex yet again in 2009, with locally-made movies accounting for just under 3% of boxoffice receipts in 2009.

Most of that business came in Quebec, where French-language movies enjoy some protection from Hollywood competition.

Between them, Canadian films -- including Emile Gaudreault's "De pere en flic," Mike Clattenburg's "Trailer Park Boys" and Michael McGowan's "One Week" -- earned CAN$26 million ($25.2 million) at local movie theatres.