The profile of Australian films in the US looks set to rise in the next two months with the debuts of Wolf Creek 2, The Railway Man and Tracks.
While the last two will have conventional cinema releases, the Wolf Creek sequel will premiere on Video-On-Demand platforms on April 17, a month before it launches in cinemas in at least 10 cities.
Greg Mclean’s serial killer saga may be the second Australian film to be released in what is known as the Ultra-VOD window; Fighting Fear, a surfing docudrama featuring Mick Fanning, took that route in 2012.
Consumers pay a premium price of $US9.99 to watch a film on VoD before it’s released in cinemas. The VoD fee reverts to the regular $5 when the film opens theatrically. The slasher sequel has grossed nearly $4.5 million after its fourth weekend.
Bachelorette was a prominent Ultra-VoD release in 2012 and wound up earning $418,000 in cinemas and about $5.5 million in VoD revenues.
The US distributor Image Entertainment is contractually bound to release Wolf Creek 2 in 10 of the top 25 markets including New York and Los Angeles. “It will be interesting to see this strategy play out,” producer Helen Leake tells IF.
The original Wolf Creek grossed $16.2 million in the US, handled by the Weinsteins’ Dimension label.
Magnolia-on-Demand routinely releases films on Ultra-VoD. Among its current and recent releases are Lars von Trier’s Nymphomania, Alan Partridge, The Right Kind of Wrong (which stars Ryan Kwanten), Best Night Ever and the John Cusack starrer Grand Piano.
The Weinstein Co. bought the North American rights to The Railway Man and Tracks, paying a reported $2 million for the former.
Jonathan Teplitzky’s drama The Railway Man, which has taken an impressive $7.2 million in Oz, will open on April 11. John Curran’s Tracks, which has taken nearly $1.5 million in 11 days, bows on May 23.