Australian films struggle in the US

25 August, 2014 by Don Groves

Seven Australian films have been released in US cinemas this year, of which only The Railway Man is likely to have recouped the PA& and turned a profit.

Stuart Beattie’s I, Frankenstein tops the list with $US19 million but that’s a poor result considering the reported $65 million budget and the money Lionsgate shelled out to support the launch on 2,753 screens.

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Jonathan Teplitzky's The Railway Man platformed on four screens in Los Angeles and New York and gradually expanded to 164 theatres via The Weinstein Co, raking in $US4.4 million. That brings its worldwide B.O. total to $US22.3 million led by the UK’s $8.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

A24 launched David Michôd’s The Rover on 608 screens but the thriller was D.O.A., finishing with $1.1 million, which mirrors its results in Australia and the UK.

Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek 2, Kim Mordaunt’s The Rocket and Mark Hartley’s Patrick (rechristened Patrick: Evil Awakens) had limited theatrical exposure to support the DVD and VoD windows. The Rocket grossed $56,000 but the producers of the other two have not shared the B.O. figures.

More than a dozen other Australian films have secured theatrical distribution in the US this year but most don’t have release dates yet.

The record year in terms of numbers was 1997 when Oz 15 features were distributed in the US, according to Screen Australia, whose records go back to 1985.

John Curran’s Tracks debuts on September 19. Among the other titles with US deals are Julius Avery’s Son of a Gun, Zak Hilditch’s These Final Hours, John V. Soto’s The Reckoning, Tim Winton’s The Turning, Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, Sophie Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays, Matt Saville’s Felony, the Spierig brothers’ Predestination, Aaron Wilson’s Canopy, Hugh Sullivan’s The Infinite Man, Sarah Spillane’s Around the Block and Darran Scott's The Playbook.
 

 

 

AUSTRALIAN FILMS RELEASED IN THE US 2014

 

 

 

Title

 

Release Date

 

Total

1

I, Frankenstein  

January 24   

$19,075,290

 

2

The Railway Man

April 11

4,438,438

3

The Rover

June 13

1,114,423

4

The Rocket

January 10

55,889

 

5

John Doe: Vigilante

March 21

20,168

 

6

Patrick:  Evil Awakens

March 14

NA

7

Wolf Creek 2

May 16

NA

                    Sources:  Box Office Mojo/Rentrak

                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Mark Poole

    Recouped its P & A and turned a profit are two different things. A film’s P & A is what the distributor spent to get audiences into cinemas – cost of prints and advertising spend. But once recouped, the balance of money is split between distributor and the producer, who then has to repay investors before a profit can be earned. And cinemas retain 70% of the gross (at least in Australia). So is The Railway Man has taken $22m worldwide, the cinemas kept $15m leaving $7 million to the distributor. Say the P & A was $2 mill, this leaves $5 mill to go back to the producers, who have to repay the $26m budget of the film. So currently they are $21m in the red. However they can recoup via DVD sales, Pay TV, free to air and airlines.

  • David Steinhoff – Presence Films

    Where not seeing just Australian films struggle.

    The issue is the digital revolution.

    Audiences no longer view theatrical releases in the same way. They are far more content to view passively on a large screen at home, to download the content, to interact with it on a tablet or phone or to play it as a game or App.

    We need to shift our model away from pure theatrical release. The model is dying, the margins are gutted, the market is flooded and the audiences are diminishing.

    Refocusing production on high quality TV, cable, transmedia, apps and gaming is the path. Create for many screens and monetize those interactions.

    That’s no easy job. We are in a highly fluid environment but theatrical distribution as a model into the US or anywhere is diminishing.

  • Rutegar

    hmm …

    didn’t realise THE RAILWAY MAN tanked so badly, but not that surprising I guess.

    It seems odd that is an Australian film involves tax payer funding that the Box Office figures aren’t made by public by law.

  • Richard Moss

    OH NO! You mean to tell me that out films didn’t do well in the USA? The holy land of movie excellence. What on earth could we be doing wrong? How can we better please our betters?

    The USA is not the benchmark for good films, neither is it the entertainment capital of the world. It just has BIG which is bigger than anyone else, and Glitz which is glitzier.

    We need to stop this sycophantic Hollywood worship once and for all, it has been holding us back for around 80 years.