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In limited release : the political economy of the Canadian motion picture distribution system

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posted on 24.05.2021, 11:02 by Nicholas Mills
Canadian motion pictures face a unique challenge when it comes to reaching a domestic theatrical audience. In fact roughly 96 percent of the annual screen time of Canadian theatres is occupied by foreign-produced, mostly American, films. This thesis recognizes that the motion picture distributor in particular the Hollywood studio firm, holds the balance of power in the Canadian film industry. Using a political and economy framework, this thesis identifies five unique channels of distribution within the Canadian motion picture distribution system and through historical analysis, investigates the political and economic motivations behind their formation. The results of this analysis reveal that because the industry's distribution structure was negotiated between political and corporate actors under asymmetrical conditions of power, it places limitations upon the exchange of cultural resources across and within borders, restricts intra-industry firm-level negotiations, and perpetuates the dominant market preference for Hollywood films and the underperformance of domestic films within the Canadian marketplace.





Master of Arts


Communication and Culture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Charles Davis