This could get awkward. On Tuesday, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television named the Québécois animated feature Snowtime! as the winner of this year's Cineplex Golden Screen Award, which goes to the Canadian film with the biggest domestic box office in 2015. According to the ACCT, the film earned more than $3.3-million last year. But on Thursday, Mongrel Media announced that the Irish-Canadian co-production Brooklyn was the highest-grossing Canadian film released in 2015, as it just crossed the $4-million mark.
"We are thrilled to see a Canadian film achieve such remarkable success," Hussain Amarshi, president of Mongrel Media, said in a statement. "Canadian audiences have fallen madly in love with Saoirse Ronan's character because she represents so many of us who have immigrated to Canada. The film lovingly captures the pull of home left behind and the prospects of a bright future in a new country."
But who, exactly, is the homegrown champion? The answer is as complicated as the Canadian film industry itself. Snowtime!, which is being distributed in Canada by Entertainment One, earned its haul until the ACCT's cut-off point of Dec. 31, 2015. Brooklyn's earnings, meanwhile, are being counted from the day it opened in limited release (Nov. 20 in Toronto and Vancouver) until now. So, technically, Brooklyn is 2015's highest-grossing Canadian film – just not within the strict calendar confines of 2015.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that Snowtime!, which enjoyed a screening at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last week, has yet to even open in English-Canadian markets, and could possibly top Brooklyn's current gross. Of course, the numbers might also be further dissected by defining what, exactly, makes a Canadian film, well, Canadian.
The Oscar-nominated Brooklyn was partially shot in Ireland, and was directed by an Irish filmmaker (John Crowley) with an Irish-American star (Saoirse Ronan). It was, however, also shot in Quebec, funded partially by Canadian agencies and was co-produced by Montreal's Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin. Snowtime!, meanwhile, is a remake of the 1984 Quebec film La guerre des tuques, and was produced by Quebec's CarpeDiem Film & TV and Sony.
Perhaps the films' producers can settle things via that most Canadian of traditions: a snowball fight.