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Harry Potter casts a spell over Canadian box office

Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe are shown in a scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Jaap Buitendijk

Potter power ruled Canada last year, according to statistics released this week by the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the eighth and final instalment in the popular movie series, earned just over $43-million to make it the country's top commercial box-office performer for 2011.

Gross box-office revenue in Canada for the year totalled $1.001-billion, a 3 per cent decline from 2010. Canadian films accounted for about 3 per cent of that, grossing $28.3-million in total, down 16 per cent from the $33.5-million tallied in 2010.

The other big draws in the top five were, like Deathly Hallows, sequels: Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($30.7-million); Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($24.5-million); The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn ($22.3-million); and The Hangover Part II ($21-million). Oscar-winner The King's Speech, released in late 2010, earned just over $17-million in 2011 – 9 per cent of it from the French-language version – to finish 10th.

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Top Canadian feature was Starbuck, a made-in-Quebec sperm-donor comedy starring Patrick Huard ( Bon Cop, Bad Cop). Currently up for six Genie Awards, including best picture, Starbuck grossed $3.51-million, most of it from a lengthy theatrical run in Quebec.

As ever, Quebec films, including co-productions, dominated the Canadian side, claiming eight berths in the top 10. Monsieur Lazhar, nominated for best foreign-film honours at this year's Oscars, finished seventh with a gross of $1.8-million, all of it from Quebec audiences. (The film opened in selected English-language markets last month.) Fourth-ranked Incendies, directed by Denis Villeneuve and nominated for a foreign-film Oscar last year, earned almost $2.1-million in 2011, on top of the $2.75-million grossed in 2010. The best-performing English-language Canadian movie, Barney's Version, released in late December, 2010, took in $3.01-million from the remainder of its commercial run in 2011. It placed third in the top-10 Canadian releases.

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