MONTREAL — Film funding agency Telefilm Canada reported Tuesday that box office for Canadian films was down bigtime in 2006, dipping to 4.1% of overall ticket sales in the country from 5.3% in 2005.
Overall B.O. for Canadian films last year was $35 million. The box office dropped despite bilingual action-comedy “Bon Cop, Bad Cop,” the all-time top-grossing local pic in Canada, with ticket sales of $12 million.
Telefilm attributed the drop entirely to French-language Canuck pics, whose market share dipped to 17.1% from 26.6% in 2005. English-Canadian films actually increased their market share from 1.1.% to a still-tiny 1.7%. Successful English-Canadian films last year included the thriller “Silent Hill” and the raunchy comedy “Trailer Park Boys.”
In the agency’s annual report, Telefilm exec director Wayne Clarkson said English-Canadian producers need to make a wider variety of films and rely on fewer dramas. Clarkson underlined that this year, 32% of the English-Canadian pics funded by Telefilm are not dramas.
Clarkson also said film companies have to spend more money marketing Canadian pics. And while noting that French-Canadian cinema is facing a funding crisis, he admitted that Telefilm has been unable to devote any extra money to the French production biz. The market share for local French-language pics dropped in 2006 in part because there were fewer such films: 32 features vs. 36 in 2005 and 47 in 2004.