At the half way mark of the year Australian feature films and feature documentaries released in cinemas have racked up nearly $40 million.
So with an ounce of luck 2018 will surpass the 2017 calendar year total of $49.4 million.
The stats from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) include the first two days of July and track the films and feature documentaries released this year plus holdovers.
June was a quiet month with modest contributions from Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade ($628,000) and Clayton Jacobson’s Brother’s Nest ($155,000).
Almost certainly Upgrade suffered by going out a week after Ari Aster’s supernatural horror movie Hereditary but the sci-fi thriller co-produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse and Goalpost Pictures is a hit in the US, grossing $US11.7 million.
Will Gluck’s Peter Rabbit is the stand-out performer with $26.6 million followed by Simon Baker’s Breath ($4.4 million) and Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country ($2 million). Paul Damian Williams’ Gurrumul is the top-grossing feature doc with $896,000.
Most of the other new titles went out on limited screens with minimal marketing support, underlining the challenges facing the majority of indie films.
The upcoming line-up looks promising led by Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black (which Sony is launching on September 20), Marion Pilowsky’s The Flip Side (Fox, August 30), Mark Joffe’s Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy (limited release via Universal, August 23), Jeremy Sims’ Wayne (Transmission, September 6), Stephen McCallum’s 1% (Icon, October 11) and Owen Trevor’s Go Karts (Roadshow).
Mirrah Foulkes’ Judy and Punch, Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters, Ben Hackworth’s Celeste, Grant Sputore’s I Am Mother and Partho Sen-Gupta’s Slam are among other titles which have break-out potential.
Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai, Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner’s Nekromancer, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding, Rachel Ward’s Palm Beach, Kriv Stenders’ Danger Close, Shawn Seet’s Storm Boy, Rachel Griffiths’ Ride Like a Girl and Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang are all scheduled for 2019: on paper, a super-strong year.
View the scorecard here.