TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Harry Potter's broom and Michael Bay's robots helped the Canadian box office soar past CAN$1 billion to reach a new record in 2009, according to data issued on Tuesday.
Canadians paid out CAN$1.01 billion ($970 million) for theater tickets last year, with most of the money going toward studio releases, said the Motion Picture Theater Associations of Canada and Zoom Services.
The Canadian performance mirrors the industry stateside, where a string of studio movie hits and raised ticket prices helped Hollywood find box office gold last year, despite the economic downturn.
Bay's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" was the top-grossing movie in Canada last year with CAN$34.4 million ($33 million) in box office, followed by "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at CAN$31.5 million ($30.5 million) and "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" at CAN$28 million ($27.2 million).
James Cameron's "Avatar" brought in CAN$27 million ($26.2 million) over the Christmas break at the local multiplex, and continues to generate box office into 2010.
Local movie productions were virtual no-shows at the Canadian multiplex yet again in 2009, with locally-made movies accounting for just under 3% of receipts in 2009. Most of that business came in Quebec, where French-language movies enjoy some protection from Hollywood competition.
Among them, Canadian films -- including Emile Gaudreault's "De pere en flic," Mike Clattenburg's "Trailer Park Boys" and Michael McGowan's "One Week" -- earned CAN$26 million ($25.2 million).