13% of top-grossing films shot in Canada: report

The country also sits third in total film production spend and managed 68% of the VFX work on those top movies in 2016, according to a study from FilmLA.

Canada is continuing to be a preferred production destination for some of the world’s top-grossing feature films, according to an annual study released by FilmL.A.

The report indicated that 13 of the top 100 highest-grossing films released in 2016 were shot in Canada, with British Columbia leading the way with eight (such as Deadpool), followed by Ontario (three) and Quebec (two).

The report analyzed the 100 highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office in 2016. Though production on many of the films took place across more than one jurisdiction, the survey focused on where the majority of the spend took place.

The report showed that, of the 100 films surveyed, Georgia, U.S. was the leading state, hosting 17, while the U.K. hosted 16.

The total for Canada (13) was up from 11 in 2015 and seven in 2014. This is Canada’s strongest showing since 2013, when the country hosted 16 of the top 100 films surveyed.

The survey also indicated that the proportion of blockbuster-budget films shot in the U.S. (across all jurisdictions, including California, Georgia, Lousiana, New York and Massachusetts) is on the decline. The U.S. served as the primary production location for 57% of the films surveyed in 2016, which is the lowest since FilmL.A. started tracking these figures in 2013. In previous years, the U.S. share has been between 64% and 67%.

In terms of total amount of direct production spending per jurisdiction, Canada ranked third ($651 million), with California in second ($851.2 million) and the U.K. topping the list ($1.112 billion). (All numbers in USD).

On the VFX front, Canada (and B.C. in particular) was the world’s clear frontrunner in 2016, according the report. The study looked at the 25 highest-budget films released in 2016 and found that 17 (or 68%) chose Canada as the primary VFX location. This number has climbed in each of the past four years, up from just seven in 2013. Among the features that based their VFX work in Vancouver were Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeStar Trek BeyondX-Men: ApocalypseAlice Through the Looking Glass and Passengers.

The number of features that chose the U.K. for VFX fell to nine in 2016, down from 15 in 2015, while Vancouver’s rose to 17, from 14, over the same period of time. California too has seen its VFX numbers slip. In 2016, the state was the primary VFX location for five films, down from 10 in 2013. “This is a concern for California because big budget features spend much of their production budgets on post and VFX,” read the report.

In terms of total spending for film and television combined, California is still by far and away the leading jurisdiction. The state’s annual spend, driven largely by TV, topped USD $30 billion last year, with New York a distant second (more than $5 billion). B.C. is firth on the list with CAD $1.9 billion and Ontario sixth with CAD $1.69 billlion.