Five months into the year, 18 Australian films and feature docs released in cinemas since the start of the year, plus holdovers, have racked up a modest $14.3 million.

That compares with $37.6 million generated in the same period last year, led by Peter Rabbit’s $26.4 million, Breath’s $3.6 million in four weeks (finishing with $4.6 million) and Sweet Country’s $2 million.

Shawn Seet’s Storm Boy is the top title with nearly $5 million, a creditable result. But almost certainly that would have been rather higher if Sony Pictures had been able to use Geoffrey Rush in the publicity campaign.

Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding has grossed $4.7 million through Sunday, its sixth weekend, and could finish with $5.5 million.

Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai collected $3.3 million, knee-capped by the dreadful co-incidence of opening on the same weekend as the Christchurch massacre.

Damon Gameau’s 2040 has earned $568,000 after its second weekend and, buoyed by word-of-mouth, distributor Madman Entertainment is aiming for $1 million-plus.

Thomas M. Wright’s Acute Misfortune had sold-out Q&A screenings while Alex Lykos’ Me and My Left Brain, David Barker’s Pimped, David Field’s The Combination Redemption, Ben Hackworth’s Celeste and Nicholas Wrathall’s feature doc Undermined: Tales From The Kimberley were among the titles that went out on a handful of screens.

As IF has often noted, cinema takings in Australia are just one source of revenue along with overseas sales and international festivals. For example, Maras’ thriller made a tidy $US9.6 million in the US for Bleecker Street/ShivHans Pictures.

Producer Steve Jaggi sold Louise Alston’s Back of the Net to the Disney Channel US in a significant deal for his investors.

Exhibitors are very optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the year, particularly Rachel Ward’s Palm Beach and Kriv Stenders’ Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan (both open on August 8) and Rachel Griffiths’ Ride Like a Girl (September 26).

‘Adam Goodes: The Australian Dream.’

The documentary line-up looks promising with Richard Lowenstein’s Mystify: Michael Hutchence launching on July 4 and Daniel Gordon’s Adam Goodes: The Australian Dream on August 22.

Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale is dated for August 29. Awaiting release dates are Sophie Hyde’s Animals, Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters and the Roache-Turner brothers’ Nekrotronic.

Gregor Jordan’s Dirt Music, Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang, Jeremy Sims’ Rams, Tony Tilse’s Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears, Stephen Johnson’s High Ground and Unjoo Moon’s I Am Woman all have strong commercial elements.

There is plenty of potential too among a raft of other films including John Sheedy’s H is for Happiness, Mark Lamprell’s Never Too Late, Maziar Lahooti’s Below, Natalie Erika James’ Relic, Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth, Seth Larney’s 2067, JJ Winlove’s June Again, Justin Dix’s Blood Vessel and Dean Murphy’s The Very Excellent Mr Dundee.

Surely from that lot the screen industry will be able to celebrate more than a few break-outs like Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black, which made more than $12 million.

View the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia scorecard here.

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