Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth instalment in the popular thriller-horror franchise starring Milla Jovovich, was the top-performing Canadian film in domestic theatres last year, grossing a total of just less than $7-million.
The success of Afterlife, a Canadian-German co-production shot in stereoscopic 3-D in Toronto, was responsible for 21 per cent of the $33.5-million total earned by Canadian films in the country's multiplexes in 2010, according to statistics from Montreal sales tracker Zoom Services for the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada. Released last September, Afterlife also has grossed almost $300-million worldwide, toppling Porky's, a 1982 release,as the most successful Canadian-produced movie ever.
Expectations are understandably high that Afterlife will score several nominations when the short list for the 31st annual Genie Awards is announced Wednesday in Toronto and Montreal. The 2004 instalment, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, won a Genie for sound editing.
Over all, Canadian films grossed about 3.3 per cent of the $1.031-billion Canadians spent on movie admissions last year, a slight increase from 2009.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest box-office performer domestically, regardless of nationality, was Avatar, directed by Canadian-born James Cameron. The futuristic science-fiction thriller, already the world's box-office champ with earnings of $3-billion, grossed almost $96-million here, more than twice the $36.4-million taken in by its nearest rival, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Finishing third was Chris Nolan's thriller Inception with a $33.2-million gross, closely followed by Toy Story 3 ($32.6-million). Another Hollywood feature, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, claimed fifth spot, pulling $27.7-million from Canadian wallets and purses.
As ever, Quebec-made francophone films dominated the domestic box office, taking six of the top 10 positions dollar-wise - seven if one includes the Celine Dion documentary Celine: Through the Eyes of the World, which grossed 82 per cent of its $1.04-million box office in Quebec. Finishing second behind Resident Evil: Afterlife was Piché: Entre ciel et terre, a biopic, directed by Sylvain Archambault, about the troubled life of Air Transat pilot Robert Piché. Its $3.7-million box office was accumulated almost entirely in Quebec.
The same for Denis Villeneuve's Oscar-nominated Incendies, which, while having a major English-Canada release only last month, went into Quebec theatres last September, shortly after its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. It finished third with a gross of more than $2.5-million.
The other English-language Canadian films in the top 10 were Splice, starring Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody ($2.14-million, fifth place), and Terry Gilliam's fantastical The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus ($1.57-million, seventh place).