‘Remarkable’ growth in Quebec audiences

MONTREAL — Nearly half the population of Quebec, 3.3 million people, went to a homegrown movie in 2009, according to stats released this week by the government agency that tracks cultural consuming habits.

That’s an increase of 52% over 2008 and ‘quite remarkable,’ says Martin Tétu, spokesman for the Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec.

In 2009 the number rose to 12.2% — the highest figure since 2005.

De Pere En Flic

Tétu attributes the growth to the recession and the varied slate of domestic films on the province’s screens, including the box-office smash De père en flic, Polytechnique, J’ai tué ma mère and Dédé, à travers les brumes. ‘Going to the movies is cheaper than going on a trip or out for an expensive dinner. And there were many films suiting different tastes,’ he says.

Roughly 1.2 million Quebecers went to De père en flic, putting the French-language cop flick ahead of blockbusters The Twilight Saga: New Moon (840,000) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (817,900) — both of which were top grossers in North America. De père, which pulled in nearly $9 million, accounted for 39.2% of the total box office for domestic films, says Tétu.

It was indeed a solid year for Quebec film, with a number of productions pulling in more than $1 million at the box office: Dédé, à travers les brumes ($1.5 million), Polytechique ($1.4 million) and Les doigts croches ($1.3 million).

Box-office receipts for Quebec films were $22.5 million in 2009, an increase of 55% over 2008. Total film and television production went to $840 million in 2008/09 from $770 million in 2007/08.