Dolan’s Love trailing Mother at Quebec box

The breakout filmmaker's second feature is delivering more modest numbers with $400,000 after four weeks

Despite an intense marketing campaign Quebec director Xavier Dolan’s second film Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats) pulled in a modest $400,000 at the Quebec box office after nearly four weeks on 20 screens.

Still, distributor Remstar says the follow-up to the breakout filmmaker’s critically acclaimed J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother) is meeting expectations.

‘We think it’s doing very well,’ Remstar’s head of sales and distribution Nathalie-Brigitte Bustos tells Playback Daily. ‘We wanted to release the film now to capitalize on the buzz from Cannes, but there are lots of other films out there this summer, including Shrek and Toy Story 3. And the weather has been nice, so people want to be outside.’

Les amours imaginaires

At the three-week mark, Les amours remained in 10th spot in the province, while Toy Story is the top grosser. Last year Ma mère racked up $308,000 after just two weeks, for a box office total of $800,000.

‘You can’t compare Les amours with Ma mère…it’s a different film and it was a different context,’ insists Bustos.

Dolan has referred to Les amours – which tells the story of two friends who fall in obsessive love with the same person – as an experiment with visual language.

When it launched the film on June 11, Remstar undertook a province-wide marketing campaign targeting 18-25 year-olds, with the young director — who also performs in the film — as the star attraction. (Near the end of the grueling publicity tour Dolan told Playback Daily he was exhausted and preferred to make films rather than talk about them).

‘We wanted to make Dolan more accessible. He is an inspiring young man. He made two films without support from public funders,’ says Bustos.

The film is produced by Daniel Morin, Carole Mondello and Dolan, and will likely be released in English Canada in September. Remstar has submitted the film to festivals across Canada, including the Toronto International Film Festival.