Australian cinemas post their second biggest year ever
‘Avengers: Infinity War’
Australian box office takings last year totaled $1.245 billion, up 3.6 per cent on the previous year, as a record 758 titles flooded the market.
So 2018 ranks as the industry’s second biggest year ever, trailing 2016’s $1.259 billion.
Australian features and feature docs collectively rang up $55.9 million, a market share of 4.5 per cent, an improvement on 2017’s $49.4 million and 4.1 per cent share.
The overall market increase occurred in the face of widespread discounting, which means the average ticket price fell from $14.13 in 2017 to $13.86.
“Given there are a lot of in-home and out-of-home options, it’s remarkable and exciting to see cinema do so well,” Lori Flekser, executive director of the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia, tells IF. “That’s due to the great slate and the improvement in the quality of cinemas.”
MPDAA members released 97 films. The number of Indian releases hit 179, nearly double 2015’s 90, and there were 88 alternate content releases. There were 64 Aussie new releases, up from 55 in 2017 and just 43 in 2016, according to the MPDAA.
Illustrating the cluttered market, the 758 titles released last year compares with 697 in 2017 and 609 in 2016, yet the number of screens was fairly constant at 970.
The top 10 titles generated $382.5 million led by Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War at $61.8 million, followed by stablemate Incredibles 2′s $45.7 million.
The 2018 cume for Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody was $42.4 million, with Disney’s Black Panther at $40.8 million and Fox’s Deadpool 2 at $36 million.
The other top performers were Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($35.5 million), Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ( $32.9 million), Warner Bros’ A Star is Born ( $32.8 million) and Fox’s The Greatest Showman ($27.5 million).
Sony/Animal Logic’s Peter Rabbit led the field for Australian releases with $26.7 million, followed by Sony’s Ladies In Black with $12 million.
Madman’s Gurrumul and Universal’s Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy were the second and third highest grossing of the 67 documentaries released in cinemas last year, behind Transmission’s Tea with the Dames.
A survey by SARA (Screen Audience Research Australia) showed visits by frequent cinemagoers (once a month or fortnightly) have not declined.
In fact patrons have increased the average number of films they see each year – from 13 visits per year in 2016 to 16 visits in 2018.
Compared with subscription streaming services, Australians aged 15-17 see the cinema experience as “great to watch with friends” (78 per cent), “excellent picture quality” (73 per cent) and “a great way to access new releases” (60 per cent).
The rise in cinema revenue is mirrored by the downturn in movie piracy in both the number of pirates and the frequency of activity for both teens (12-17) and adults (18-64).