Comfortable and Furious

The Canadian Film Industry in Numbers: 2023

For the casual movie-goer, a list of the best Canadian movies probably won’t have anything recognizable. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974), Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006), and Goon (2011) just aren’t as noticeable as something from the nearly $50bn American industry—especially on a global canvas.

Nevertheless, movies produced by Canadians have their fans. Foreign-language films like Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies (2010) capture stories rarely told, in this case, of a civil war in the Levant. It eventually received a nod for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Similarly, the 2001 movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner was the first film ever made in the Inuit tongue. 

Foreign Projects

The worry is that the local industry is failing. Profile 2023, an annual publication of the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), reckons that screen-based projects pump $14.05bn into the country’s economy each year, adding 239,380 jobs. There’s been a shift, though, away from domestic production towards catering for foreign projects.

In other words, helping outsiders to film in Canada adds more money to public coffers than keeping things strictly in-country. In summary, just over $4bn was spent on Canadian TV and movies in 2023 compared to almost $7bn on foreign “location and service.”

Of course, other types of entertainment bring money into Canada. Statista suggests that the video game industry could earn $3.9bn in revenue by 2024, while casinos and similar outlets earned $17.2bn just in Ontario during the final quarter of 2023. The CASINOenquirer website lists DreamVegas as the best online casino Canada offers, alongside Lucky7even and JackpotCity.

“Reduced Spending”

So, where’s the issue? In May, the Hollywood Reporter lamented that a slowdown in TV and film production had crept northward over the border. The magazine blamed industrial action and “reduced spending” by streaming networks for weighing down Canadian and US industries. Worryingly, the worst might be yet to come for Canada. 

The CMPA’s Profile 2023 suggests the total production value for 23/24 could fall below those seen in 2020 – around $8bn. This may not be quite as alarming as it appears, however. The years between 2020 and 2022 represented a record-high production volume for Canada, which might one day be viewed as an anomaly in the data. 

In essence, the Canadian movie industry is resetting itself to pre-2020 levels, a position arguably more sustainable for the country now that trouble is brewing in the south. It’s likely that Hollywood will endure a similar slump as some of the problems facing Canada, like lower budgets at streaming houses, aren’t unique to one particular country. 

Content Budgets

In 2022, an article from Bloomberg reported the first shrinkage in content budgets at Netflix, Disney, and Warner Bros. In Disney’s case, executives knocked $1bn from creators’ balances to cut costs. Warner Bros., in a much more drastic move, began cancelling even completed projects. 

The one thing Canada needs to address is its over-reliance on foreign investment – but, for now, the extra cash might stave off the worst of Hollywood’s hangover.





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