Men With Brooms on the money

Montreal: Men With Brooms is rekindling Canadian moviemaking aspirations, scoring $1,040,000 in box office over its opening three-day, March 8-10 weekend. The film ranked fourth nationally, drawing a predominantly older 25-54, equally male-female skewed audience, according to AC Nielsen’s Entertainment Data Industries.

Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution released the Paul Gross-directed romance comedy on 215 screens in 207 theatres for a $5,024 per screen average, the third highest among all North America releases for the period, says Jim Sherry, AAMPD’s executive VP and general manager.

Sherry says the film had additional receipts of $105,000 on Monday, March 11, and has a good shot at a first-week total of $1.5 million, or more.

Men With Brooms performed best in Winnipeg, where it ranked first over the weekend, in Calgary and Vancouver, with respectable showings in Ontario and Quebec. AAMPD invested $1.5 million or more in the film’s P&A campaign, bankrolling an eight-city, private jet tour for cast, the director and Serendipity Point Films producer Robert Lantos.

‘At long last the myth that Canadians have no enthusiasm for Canadian movies has been shattered. This means more to me than a Palme D’Or in Cannes. I feel jubilant and vindicated,’ says Lantos.

AAMPD will leverage the strong opening reviews in print and on TV as the campaign moves forward. ‘And we’ll also be conveying the message that it is Canada’s number-one comedy,’ says Sherry.

Exit polling for Men With Brooms indicates a ‘definite recommend’ figure of 70% for 25- to 54-year-olds, and higher for the younger 18 to 25 demographic, the latter making up the film’s biggest marketing challenge, adds Sherry.

Another strong Canadian showing this month comes from the Jean Beaudin thriller Le Collectionneur, which had receipts of $90,000 over the March 8-10 weekend. The film had a three-week cumulative total of $687,500 since opening on 54 Quebec scenes Feb. 22. Christal Films Distribution says coverage dropped to 35 screens on Friday, March 15.

Odeon Films opened a nine-community ‘Northern Tour’ across the Nunavut territory for Zacharias Kunuk’s The Fast Runner – Atanarjuat on March 12. The program is supported financially by Heritage Canada and the National Film Board, the film’s coproducer. The Fast Runner’s national [platform] theatrical release begins April 12.

AAMPD ranked first in market share at the Canadian box office in 2001, grossing $167 million (Lord of the Rings set to top $50 million; Bridget Jones’s Diary, $12 million; Rush Hour 2, $23 million; Spy Kids 2, $10 million) on the strength of 85 or more titles. Sherry projects more than $200 million in box office for AAMPD for the fiscal year ending March 31.

-www.allianceatlantis.com

-www.allianceatlantisfilms.com (Odeon)

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