Native hockey pic bests Hollywood debuts

Canuck hockey pic “Goon” performed a rare feat at the local box office over the Feb. 24-26 frame, besting a handful of Hollywood debuts. The ensemble comedy, co-penned by thesp Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (“Pineapple Express”), topped the charts with an estimated $1.2 million from 251 screens as of Feb. 26.

The homegrown pic’s performance was helped by a strategy from distrib Alliance Films that launched “Goon” simultaneously both in its original English-language version and a dubbed French translation for the Quebec market. The film scored almost double the average market share in Quebec, the country’s second-largest province.

“It’s very gratifying to make a film work equally well in both languages, because it almost never happens,” says Mark Slone, senior vice president of market at distributor Alliance.

Alliance crafted dual publicity campaigns for “Goon,” one that featured Hollywood actors Seann William Scott and Liev Schreiber, which rolled out in most of the country, while another catered to Quebec tastes and focused on Francophone star Marc-Andre Grondin (“C.R.A.Z.Y.”).

“Goon’s” aud was mostly in the 18 to 34 demo, with females comprising nearly a third of ticketbuyers, the distrib says.

The movie also received media attention on the eve of its debut when some outdoor advertisements were pulled in Toronto over complaints that they showed Baruchel making an obscene gesture.

Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, plans a limited release of “Goon” in the U.S. this spring.

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