5. Cirque du Soleil
Last year’s ranking: 2 (▼ 3)
Today there are 20 different Cirque du Soleil shows operating worldwide (seven of them in Las Vegas alone). The most recent is Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico—produced with the help of a reported US$47.7 million investment by the Mexican government. In the wake of Cirque’s sale to private equity interests in 2015, the pressure is on to make that acquisition pay, and it shows. Unfortunately, Canadians may be noticing, too. The combination of ubiquity and commercial expediency (an Avatar-themed show?) is hard on a brand that was built on stunning originality. It probably explains Cirque de Soleil’s slight swoon in the ranking since last year.