Australian films BO scorecard August 2017: Industry in a trough

29 August, 2017 by Don Groves

‘Killing Ground’. 

Due mostly to a quirk in release patterns, Australian films have barely registered at the nation’s cinemas in the past few months, which mirrors a 6 per cent downturn in the overall theatrical market so far this year.


Through August 27, Oz films and feature docs collectively have raked in $43.5 million this year, according to the Motion Picture Distribution Association of Australia (MPDAA).

Reflecting the paucity of new releases, that’s a minimal advance on the June total of $42.95 million.

Even so, 2017 already ranks well ahead of the dismal 2016 calendar year total of $24.1 million.

Apart from Lion ($29.5 million), Red Dog: True Blue (a disappointing $5.8 million this calendar year), Jasper Jones ($2.7 million) and Dance Academy ($2.1 million), none of the other titles launched this year has cracked $1 million.

Neither of the local films that opened on August 24 made much of an impression.

Produced by Madman Production Company, Dan Jones and Marcus Cobbledick’s All for One, which follows the first five years of the GreenEdge cycling team, rang up $143,000 on 46 screens, including previews.

Damien Power’s debut feature Killing Ground a horror movie starring Aaron Pedersen, Harriet Dyer, Ian Meadows and Aaron Glenane, scared up a mere $22,000 on 14 screens and $42,000 including advance screenings for Mushroom Pictures.

Madman Entertainment is launching Jeffrey Walker’s Ali’s Wedding this Thursday. The semi-autobiographical romantic comedy from co-writer and lead actor Osamah Sami was warmly received at the Sydney Film Festival, where it was voted best audience feature film.

Most of the other upcoming local films and feature docs will be limited releases.

September is unusually crowded as Umbrella will launch Sera Davies’ Namatjira Project, which traces the life of acclaimed Indigenous artist Albert Namatjira and his family’s quest for justice; Rhiannon Bannenberg’s tween movie Rip Tide; and Kriv Stenders’ Right Here: The Go-Betweens, which charts the rise and fall of the Aussie band.

Also in September, Madman is releasing Jen Peedom’s documentary Mountain and Icon is distributing Stenders’ Foxtel-commissioned drama Australia Day.

Transmission Films has dated Karina Holden’s marine doco Blue for October and Ben Elton’s romantic comedy Three Summers for November.

Umbrella plans to launch Greg McLean’s thriller Jungle, which garnered mixed reviews when it opened the Melbourne International Film Festival, in November.

However as IF has noted, on paper the line-up for 2018 looks impressive with such titles as Garth Davis’  Mary Magdalene, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale and Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country (all Transmission),  Simon Baker’s Breath (Roadshow), Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai (Icon), Ben Howling and Yolande Ramke’s Cargo (Umbrella) and the Spierig brothers’ Winchester (StudioCanal).

View the August scorecard here.