The combined talents of Iron Man, the Mighty Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America were enough to power The Avengers to the top of the Canadian commercial box-office heap in 2012.
According to statistics released this month by the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, the super-hero epic, based on the Marvel comic book of the same name, grossed almost $58.4-million from Canadian moviegoers, 25 per cent more than its nearest rival, The Dark Knight Rises, which earned close to $46.2-million. Third place was claimed by the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall ($42.6-million), followed by The Hunger Games ($40.2-million) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($32.2-million).
Gross theatrical box-office revenue in Canada for 2012 was close to $1.1-billion, a 9-per-cent increase over 2011. Canadian movies accounted for around 2.5 per cent of that, grossing, as of Dec. 21, $25.06-million, a drop of roughly 12 per cent from 2011. Resident Evil: Retribution, part of the highly successful Canadian-German thriller-horror franchise, was the top Canadian performer, with a gross of $5.2-million.
Quebec-made francophone films have traditionally dominated the domestic box-office. In 2011, for instance, seven Quebec films, including co-productions, finished among the top 10 Canadian attractions, while Quebec films overall captured a 10-per-cent market share of the province’s commercial box office. Last year, however, Quebec films performed miserably, accounting for only a 4.8-per-cent market share in the province, according to box-office tracker Cineac, and claiming just five spots in the Canadian top 10.
While it’s been common in the past decade to see as many as five or six Quebec films earn more than $1-million each year in Quebec alone, only three accomplished that feat in 2012. One, the Oscar-nominated Monsieur Lazhar, was, in fact, released in October 2011 but maintained enough momentum into the next year to earn $2.12-million in 2012 ($1.07-million in Quebec, $1.05-million in English-Canada). The other big Quebecois performers were Omerta: The Movie, a crime drama based on a popular French-language TV series ($2.74-million), and Les Pee-Wee 3D: L’hiver qui a changé ma vie, a family-oriented hockey drama ($1.37-million).
Goon, another hockey picture, starring Liev Schreiber and Jay Baruchel, made in English and shot mostly in Winnipeg, finished in second place among the country’s top domestic draws, earning $4.15-million. David Cronenberg’s psychoanalytic drama, A Dangerous Method, released commercially in mid-January 2012, grossed almost $1.36-million, while Deepa Metha’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, released last November in an English-only version, had recorded earnings of about $595,000 by year’s end.