Domestic box office receipts of Canadian films rose by 11.6 per cent in 2011, buoyed by the success of movies like Starbuck, Barney’s Version, Incendies and Monsieur Lazhar, according to Telefilm Canada.
In a report released Wednesday, the federal film funding agency said Canadian films are achieving greater success both at home and abroad.
The relatively new success index that Telefilm uses as a measurement tool shows a big improvement in box office, TV and DVD sales, but slightly less attention for Canadian productions at film festivals or from private sector funders.
Canada's box office stars in 2011
- Starbuck: $3.5 million.
- Le sens de l'humour: $3.4 million.
- Barney's Version: $3 million.
- Incendies: $2.1 million.
- Gerry: $2 million.
- Breakaway: $1.9 million.
- Monsieur Lazhar: $1.8 million.
- Café de Flore: $1.6 million.
Total domestic box office receipts totalled $27.5 million, up from $24.6 million in 2010.
Domestic sales, including pay TV, DVD and video-on-demand, climbed from $15 million to $34 million because of films such as The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Barney's Version, Incendies, One Week and Splice.
Although Oscar nominees Barney's Version and Incendies were released in 2010, the bulk of their international sales and home DVD sales occurred in 2011. Similarly, Starbuck and Monsieur Lazhar may continue to earning well into 2012.
"A producers’s mission is fulfilled when audiences embrace his film," Barney’s Version producer Robert Lantos said in a statement. In June, the film won the Golden Box Office award, which recognizes the anglophone movie with the past year's top Canadian box office earnings.
"The journey of Barney’s Version has been particularly gratifying because its story and characters are so deeply and specifically rooted in Montreal. Yet thanks to Mordecai Richler, the film’s language is universal, as evidenced by its many international awards and wide distribution throughout the world," Lantos said.
Oscar contender Monsieur Lazhar and Sébastien Pilote’s well-regarded francophone film Le Vendeur also helped boost international sales, which jumped to $51 million in 2011 from $21 million the previous year.
Telefilm launched its success index in 2010 with a value of 100. The index has risen to 123 on the strength of better box office returns.
The number of awards Canadian productions received at significant international film festivals fell last year, while the share of private and foreign funding of films that also received Telefilm support declined slightly, from 36.2 per cent to 34.5 per cent.