Aus share of box office falls to 1.3 per cent in opening months of 2011

29 June, 2011 by Brendan Swift

The Australian share of the box office has fallen to approximately 1.3 per cent over the first five months of the year, despite a sharp drop in total box office returns.

That proportion is less than one-third of the 4.5 per cent Australian box office share over the first five months of 2010 when five films had already grossed more than $2 million each (Bran Nue Dae, The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2, Beneath Hill 60, Daybreakers and Bright Star) to push the total to $21.32 million.


This year opened strongly for Australian films with the James Cameron-backed Sanctum grossing almost $3.84 million. However, films such as A Heartbeat Away and Wasted on the Young underperformed, pushing the total to just $5.63 million.

Over the first five months of 2010, the total box office reached $476.54 million, partially driven by the success of Cameron's Avatar, according to data from the Motion Pictures Distributors Association of Australia. This year, the total box office has fallen by 7.5 per cent, to reach $440.47 million.

While the Australian share has faltered, those figures do not include the strong recent performance of drama Oranges and Sunshine ($2.32 million after three weeks).

Several major Australian films are also due for release later this year including Red Dog (August 4), Killer Elite (September 23), The Hunter (October 6), The Cup (October 13) and Happy Feet 2 (December 26).

In calendar 2010, Australian films accounted for 4.5 per cent (or $50.6 million) of the total box office and 5 per cent (or $54.8 million) in 2009.

Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) president, Antony I Ginnane, has previously suggested a 10 per cent box office share for local films is achieveable. SPAA is continuing to lobby the government to back a Producer Distributor Film Fund, which would run for three years and provide matching loans to distributors, encouraging the production of more commercial films.