Canada

The otherwise remarkably staid Canuck film distribution scene has seen some seismic shifts this year. It is suddenly a different game thanks to big changes at the top company and the arrival of a couple of aggressive new players. Alliance Atlantis-controlled Motion Picture Distribution, long the leading player, morphed into Alliance Films, a private company jointly owned by Goldman Sachs and Toronto private equity firm EdgeStone Capital. It’s run by longtime Alliance Atlantis exec Victor Loewy. Newbies include Entertainment One, a former DVD distrib with deep pockets that’s breaking into theatrical in Canada and the U.K.; and Maximum Films, a specialty outfit run by seasoned Canadian producer Robert Lantos.

Alliance Films
Topper:
Charles Layton, president; Victor Loewy, executive chairman
B.O.: $110 million
Top pic: “Hairspray” ($14 million)
In brief: Has output deals with a slew of U.S. suppliers, including Miramax, New Line and Focus Features. Recent hits include “Rush Hour 3,” “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “1408.” Upcoming titles include “The Mist,” “No Country for Old Men,” “The Golden Compass,” “Atonement,” “Gone Baby Gone,” “Rendition” and Denys Arcand’s “Days of Darkness.”

Christal Films
Topper:
Christian Larouche, president
B.O.: $10 million
Top pic: “Three Little Pigs” ($4 million)
In brief: Launched in 2001, Christal is one of the big players in the Quebec market and now expanding coast to coast. French-language titles such as “A vos marques, party!” and “Ensemble c’est tout” did well for the shingle.

Equinoxe Films
Topper:
Michael Mosca, senior vice-president and COO
B.O.: $2.8 million
Top pic: “Rocky 3” ($1.8 million)
In brief: Founded in 2000, Equinoxe has had recent successes in “Quand j’etais chanteur” and “La faute a fidel.” Upcoming pics include “La Capture,” “Lions for Lambs,” “Lars and the Real Girl” and “Ben-X.”

Maple Pictures
Toppers:
Brad Pelman, Laurie May, co-presidents
B.O.: $15 million
Top pic: “3:10 to Yuma” ($4 million)
In brief: Lionsgate sold its majority stake in the distrib in 2005, when it was renamed Maple Pictures. Now owned by a group of private Canadian investors, shingle continues to distributre Lionsgate product among a mix of indie genre fare. Recent successes include “Paris, je t’aime” and “War.” Upcoming pics include “Saw 4,” “John Rambo” and “The Eye.”

Maximum Film Distribution
Toppers:
Robert Lantos, chairman; Tony Cianciotta, managing director
In brief: New distrib created by Lantos has output deals with IFC and Cinetic Media. Upcoming pics include “Redacted,” “Paranoid Park,” “Fugitive Pieces,” “Adoration” and “My Winnipeg.”

Mongrel Media
Topper
: Hussain Amarshi, president
B.O.: $6 million
Top pic: “The Lives of Others” ($1.6 million)
In brief: Shingle has output deal with Sony Pictures Classics. Recent releases include “Away From Her” and “Manufactured Landscapes,” with upcoming pics like “Sleuth” and “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.”

Seville Pictures
Toppers:
David Reckziegel, John Hamilton, co-presidents
B.O.: $4 million
Top pic: “2 Days in Paris” ($500,000)
In brief: Following its acquisition this summer by Entertainment One, Seville is moving into bigger films and is poised to become a larger player nationally. Entertainment One recently signed an output deal for Canada and the U.K. with Summit.

ThinkFilm
Topper:
Jeff Sackman, president and CEO
B.O.: n/a
Top pic: “Avenue Montaigne” ($2 million)
In brief: Launched in 2001, ThinkFilm operates in both Canada and the U.S. Shingle was acquired recently by Capitol Films. On the slate is Sidney Lumet’s dark drama “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” and “War Dance.”

TVA Films
Topper:
Yves Dion, president
B.O.: $12 million
Top pic: “Because I Said So” ($5 million)
In brief: Set up in 2000, TVA has an output deal with Gold Circle. Upcoming pics include “Religulous,” “Then She Found Me” and “Over My Dead Body.”

Note: 2007 B.O. through Oct. 5

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