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Foreign fantasy and animation films dominate Canadian box office in 2013

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3

Foreign fantasy, superhero and animation fare were the top commercial box-office performers at Canadian theatres in 2013, according to statistics released Wednesday by box-office tracker Zoom Services on behalf of the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada.

Disney's Iron Man 3 was the top overall performer, grossing $36.4-million from Canadian patrons, just $700,000 more than its nearest rival, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Third place was occupied by Despicable Me 2 ($32.4-million), followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($29-million) and Star Trek Into Darkness ($26.7-million). No Canadian-made film came close to these earnings; this country's top grosser, a German-Canadian co-production, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, earned slightly more than $5-million.

Over all, 2013 seemed sluggish relative to 2012. Gross theatrical box-office revenue in the country was $1.04-billion, a decrease of about 2.1 per cent from last year's tally. (That total, almost $1.1-billion, represented a 9-per-cent increase over 2011.) Canadian movies enjoyed only a 2-per-cent share of the overall market, compared with 2.5-per-cent share the previous year. Moreover, four features grossed more than $40-million each in 2012 – indeed, the country's top-performer overall, The Avengers, took in almost $58.4-million – whereas last year only three surpassed the $30-million threshold.

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As ever, Quebec-made francophone films dominated the domestic market. Daniel Roby's historical biopic Louis Cyr, about the famous Quebecois strong man (1863-1912), grossed $4.2-million, enough for second place behind Mortal Instruments. Rounding out the top five were Astérix et Obélix: Au service de sa Majesté ($1.4-million), Gabrielle, Canada's nomination for best foreign film at the coming Oscars ($1.3-million) and Il était une fois les Boys ($1.2-million). The Right Kind of Wrong, a screwball romantic comedy – and Toronto International Film Festival world premiere – starring Ryan Kwanten, and Revolution, a documentary on environmental degradation and climate change, were the only English-language features other than Mortal Instruments to break into the Canadian top 10, grossing, respectively, $511,000 and $531,000.

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James More


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