After a growthspurt in the late 1990s, film attendance in Canada has flattened in 2000-2001,according to a survey from Statistics Canada.

The nation'scinemas, including drive-ins, saw 119.6 million admissions, a 41-year-high butan increase of only 3% from the previous year. In 1998, attendance soared by14%, part of a nine-year trend of increasing ticket sales which would seem tohave peaked.

Canadianexhibition revenues overall reached just over C$1bn billion in 2000, a loss ofC$26.5m from the following year.

While suggesting thesluggish numbers were due to fewer than average event pictures in the summer of2000, the Motion Picture Theatres Survey pointed to the high occupancy costsand significant capital outlay represented by large multiplex facilities.

Those theatres continue toincrease their market share. Forty-nine or 7% of Canada's 679 theatrical venuesaccounted for over 20% of the year's total attendance.

Meanwhile, older smallertheatres, where revenues are typically before C$500,000, saw their audienceshrink by 29%. Canada's 67 remaining drive-in theatres reported almost 1.7million patrons in 2000, down from 1.9 million the year before.

Filmgoers in the provincesof Alberta and British Columbia continue to lead the nation in annualper-capita film attendance, with 5.0 films and 4.2 films respectively. Thenational average held steady at 3.9 films.