I like numbers, and I like comparing and contrasting different cultures, and last summer I discovered a website that posts the weekend box-office figures for both Canada in particular and North America in general. So, naturally, I began keeping tabs on this site and noting which films appeared to be more or less popular in Canada than they were in the States.
I actually first started thinking about this around the time I read a news report to the effect that The Passion of the Christ made about 7% of its money in Canada, a country that has about 10% of the combined Canadian-American population. And since The Passion had broken The Return of the King‘s record for a five-day opening, I thought it was striking that it had made, in Canada, only half of what The Return of the King made here.
However, it wasn’t until I began reading about Fahrenheit 9/11‘s popularity in Canada that I began to scour the web for some sort of freely available Canadian box-office report. After that, I kept tabs on the weekly top tens for that year at this other site — and now I’m going to do the same here. The totals for all the films that made the Canadian top tens in 2005 will be updated here.
FWIW, a few broad patterns have presented themselves already. Films with an African-American or “urban” angle tend not to do quite so well in Canada, while films with a British or Asian angle will do better here than in the States.
Some of the most glaring examples of this have occurred in just the past few weeks: On the one hand, Diary of a Mad Black Woman opened at #1 in “North America” four weekends ago, but — despite being distributed by a Canadian-owned company! — it was not released in Canada at all until last Friday, and it still failed to make a single appearance in our top ten. On the other hand, Bride and Prejudice — a Bollywood riff on an English novel — has been in the Canadian top ten for the past four weekends, yet it has never been higher than #15 in “North America”. (An even more glaring example would be the martial arts film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, which opened at #4 in Canada over a month ago but has never been higher than #17 in “North America”.)
Bride and Prejudice — CDN $1,306,771 — N.AM $4,812,473 — 27.2%
Hostage — CDN $2,417,521 — N.AM $19,503,139 — 12.4%
Million Dollar Baby — CDN $9,075,366 — N.AM $89,943,692 — 10.0%
Constantine — CDN $7,018,363 — N.AM $70,382,151 — 9.9%
Hitch — CDN $14,946,875 — N.AM $159,325,368 — 9.4%
Be Cool — CDN $4,350,260 — N.AM $47,275,015 — 9.2%
Ice Princess — CDN $592,094 — N.AM $6,807,471 — 8.7%
Robots — CDN $5,408,455 — N.AM $66,067,739 — 8.2%
The Pacifier — CDN $5,328,603 — N.AM $72,270,940 — 7.4%
The Ring Two — CDN $2,338,706 — N.AM $35,065,237 — 6.7%
A couple of discrepancies: Bride and Prejudice was #10 on the Canadian chart (it was #15 in North America as a whole), while Diary of a Mad Black Woman was #9 on the North American chart.