×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Canada

Small players find lucrative B.O. niche

Montreal — The Great White North’s indie distrib sector is in a fairly stable phase these days. Alliance Atlantis continues to roundly dominate the scene thanks to its output deals with companies such as Miramax and New Line, but the smaller players still manage to carve out a niche for themselves in the shadow of the Toronto-based film giant.

One interesting development is the rapid-fire growth of Toronto-based ThinkFilm, the distribution outfit headed by former Lions Gate Films exec Jeff Sackman. The company is much smaller than Alliance but releases pics on both sides of the border, giving it an advantage in terms of acquiring indie product.

In addition, now that producer Robert Lantos is a co-owner with Sackman, Think has access to pics produced by Lantos’ Serendipity Point Films. It was able to nab Lantos-produced “The Statement” and “Being Julia” for Canada. In the future, it may take North American rights on Lantos’ titles, which are among the priciest and highest-profile films coming out of Canada.

“Alliance controls a large part of the independent product (in Canada) and the challenge is to find ways of finding interesting product,” says Randy Manis, senior vice president of acquisitions at ThinkFilm. “The fact that we have a U.S. releasing arm gives us something interesting to offer.”

Foreign-language fare continues to be a tough sell in Canada, but there are success stories such as Seville Pictures’ release of “Good Bye, Lenin!”

“The market is tough but there’s still room for high-end foreign-language items,” says Seville co-prexy David Reckziegel. “It just has to stick out in the marketplace.”

Local English-lingo films are mostly foundering at the box office (with the notable exception of Odeon Films’ road movie “Going the Distance”), while French-Canadian pics continue to score. For the first nine months of 2004, Quebec films accounted for 13.6% of ticket sales in Quebec, roughly the same level as last year. That’s up from around 5% a few years back. The top Quebec pic so far this year is the comedy “Camping Sauvage,” which grossed C$4.3 million ($3.4 million).

Canada at a glance
B.O.: $547 million*
Top title: “Shrek 2” (DreamWorks, $36 million*)
Recent pickups:
“The Assassination of Richard Nixon” (ThinkFilm)
“Le cou de la girafe” (Christal Films)
“Phil the Alien” (Lions Gate Films, Canada only)
“La premiere fois que j’ai 20 ans” (TVA Films)
“Turtles Can Fly” (Seville Pictures)

Titles at AFM
Eternal: Thriller about a serial killer who is suspected to be linked to a Transylvanian countess who, in search of eternal life, bathed in women’s blood. Recent U.S. theatrical deal struck with Regent Entertainment’s Here! Films. (Horizon Entertainment)
The Far Side of the Moon: Robert Lepage’s French-lingo drama bowed in Canadian cinemas last year but has new momentum after being tapped as Canada’s Oscar submission. Also unspools at AFI Fest. (Max Films)
Spymate: Chimp spy caper by multihyphenate Robert Vince (“Air Bud” franchise). Cast features Chris Potter, Richard Kind and Emma Roberts. Sales so far include U.S., U.K., Japan and Oz. (Keystone Entertainment)

* through September 2004

More Scene

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content