Aussie films hit 8-year low

20 January, 2014 by Don Groves

The 26 Australian films and documentaries released theatrically in 2013 collectively grossed $38,543,000.

That equates to a box-office share of 3.51%, the lowest since 2005’s 2.8%, and below the 10-year average of 3.8%.


IF had estimated the total at $38.8 million but has revised that due to an overstated gross for The Great Gatsby,  which amassed $27.4 million to rank as the sixth-highest Oz grosser of all time.

Last year only five titles cracked $1 million: Gatsby, The  Railway Man (which opened on Boxing Day and earned more in one week than every other Oz title), Goddess, Tim Winton's The Turning and Return to Nim's Island. 

In 2012 Aussie films and documentaries earned $47.9 million, a 4.3% share.

The nadir was 2004’s 1.3%. The record since statistics were first collected in 1977 is 23.5% in 1986, the year of Crocodile Dundee and Malcolm.

The best result in the past 20 years is 1994’s 9.8%, buoyed by The Adventures of Priscila, Queen of the Desert, Muriel’s Wedding and Lightning Jack.

Industry-wide, the 2013 box-office came in just shy of $1.1 billion, 2.3% below 2012’s $1.125 billion, which was 2% less than the 2010 all-time high.

In December distributors were projecting a drop of about 2% on the prior year and hoping that month would make up the deficit.  Not quite.

There were 421 theatrical releases last year,  the same as 2012, but the number of screens tracked by the MPDAA rose from 1,991 to 2,057.

The action genre was the most popular, with 73 titles harvesting $323 million, followed by comedy (82 films generating $159 million) and drama (96 films earning $153 million). The 38 documentaries, including nine from Oz, grossed $8.3 million. 

Some 52 alternate content titles were screened live, mostly the Bolshoi Ballet, National Theatre Live and the Met Opera, grossing nearly $4 million. That's up from 38 titles which made $2.8 million in 2012.

The most common classification was M with 187 titles while there were 104 tagged MA, 61 PG, 21 G and just 9 R-raters.

The top 10 films represented  27% of the total B.O., led by Iron Man 3's $39.2 million followed by The Hunger Games sequel ($36.3m), Despicable Me 2 ($35.7m), Life of Pi ($28.3m), Gatsby and  Fast and Furious 6. 

Rounding out the top 10 were The Croods, Man of Steel, Monsters University and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The week starting on Boxing Day was the highest grossing week of all time, notching $49.89 million, fueled by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Frozen, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Philomena and The Railway Man.