2013 another down year for Aussie films

03 December, 2013 by Don Groves

The combined B.O. tally of the Australian films and documentaries released theatrically this year will fall far short of 2012’s $47.9 million.

Through last Sunday, the 24 local titles had raked in about $37.5 million, according to IF’s estimates. Only four titles earned more than $1 million and of those, Goddess’ result was generally regarded as soft.

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Excluding Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, which amassed $28.2 million to rank as the fifth-highest Australian grosser of all time, and Tim Winton’s The Turning, the per-picture grosses vary from modest to skimpy.

To be fair, the eight lowest-ranked titles had limited playing time and three, Uncharted Waters, Circle of Lies and Lasseter’s Bones, had Q&A screenings.

Australian B.O. takings should not be seen as the sole barometer of each film's success, given many have multiple viewings on VOD, pay-TV and free-to-air TV. Festival exposure and critical acclaim are also important, as are international sales. The grosses for the documentaries Lasseter’s Bones and Fallout were not available.

The only Australian film due to be released before the end of the year is Jonathan Teplitzy’s The Railway Man, which bows on Boxing Day.  So the total earnings for the year will mean local films’ box-office share won’t match last year’s 4.3%.

The latest casualties were Anne Fontaine’s Adoration and Warwick Thornton’s The Darkside, which had a soft opening on four screens last weekend despite generally favourable reviews and copious publicity.

In 2012 The Sapphires was No 1 with $14.5 million, followed by Happy Feet Two ($8.2 million out of its lifetime gross of $10.7 million), Kath & Kimderella ($6.1 million), A Few Best Men ($5.3 million) and Mental ($4.1 million).

For a film shot in Laos, writer-director Kim Mordaunt’s debut feature The Rocket has done tidy business and the results for feature-length documentaries Red Obsession and In Bob We Trust in its first month or so are admirable.

Satellite Boy and Mystery Road have continued the tradition of critically-admired Indigenous films that resonate with a fairly wide audience.

Screen Australia’s new CEO Graeme Mason has described the majority of Australian films as art-house or specialty, a tough sell at home and internationally, which means too few films are aiming for mainstream audiences, or reaching them.

As IF has noted, on paper at least, 2014 looks far more promising with titles such as John Curran’s Tracks, Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek 2, Matt Saville’s Felony, Julius Avery’s Son of a Gun, David Michôd’s The Rover, Kriv Stenders’ Kill Me Three Times, Rob Connolly’s Paper Planes, Tony Ayres' Cut Snake, Zak Hilditch’s These Final Hours, Stuart Beattie’s I, Frankenstein, Wayne Hope’s Now Add Honey and Peter and Michael Spierig’s Predestination.

 

 

AUSTRALIAN FILMS SCORECARD 2013

 

 

 

Title

 

Release Date

 

Total

1

The Great Gatsby

 May 30

$28,277,208

 

2

Goddess

 

March 14

1,636,117

 

3

Tim Winton’s The Turning

September 26

1,226,533

 

4

Return to Nim’s Island

April 4

1,216,961

 

5

Drift

May 2

931,419

 

6

Satellite Boy

June 20

510,034

 

7

 

The Rocket

August  29

465,342

8

Red Obsession

August 15

 

434,965

9

Save Your Legs!

February 28

380,488

 

10

Mystery Road

October 17

 

379,413

11

Backyard Ashes

November 6

164,258

12

 Adoration

November 21

142,463

 

13

In Bob We Trust

October 17

118,017

 

14

Lygon Street: Si Parla Italiano

November 14

101,206

15

Blinder

March 7

101,027

16

Uncharted  Waters

November 15

 51,994

17

Circle of Lies*

August 22

50,000

18

Absolute* Deception

August 29

30,000

19

The 25th Reich*

June 21

28,200

20

100 Bloody Acres

August 1

18,356

21

Patrick

October 17

14,035

22

Lasseter’s Bones

October 31

NA

23

Fallout

October 31

NA

24

The Darkside

November 28

16,793

                    Source:  Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia

                  *Producer’s figure

 

 

 

 

 

 

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