'Jasper Jones', released in March, is the third highest grossing Aussie film this year.
There was a lull in Australian films released theatrically in June so the total grosses for local titles this year have only ticked up to $42.95 million.
Even so, that is a vast improvement on the paltry 2016 calendar year total of $24.1 million.
No high-profile Aussie title is confirmed to open in the next few months so the 2017 scorecard may not go far beyond $50 million – unless there are one or two breakouts or more films are added to the slate.
Umbrella Entertainment is launching Descent into the Maelstrom, a documentary about the Australian band Radio Birdman from brothers Mark and Jonathan Sequeira, on July 20.
Madman is releasing Jeffrey Walker’s comedy Ali’s Wedding in August and Jen Peedom’s documentary Mountain in September, while Transmission has dated Karina Holden’s marine doco Blue for October. Damien Power’s feature debut, the thriller Killing Ground also opens in August via Mushroom Pictures.
In September Umbrella will release Sera Davies’ feature documentary Namatjira Project, which traces the life of acclaimed Indigenous artist Albert Namatjira and his family's quest for justice, plus Rhiannon Bannenberg’s tween movie Rip Tide and Kriv Stenders’ Right Here: The Go-Betweens, described as the melodramatic saga behind the rise and fall of the Aussie band.
Also on Umbrella’s slate is Greg McLean’s thriller Jungle, which will open the Melbourne International Film Festival and is yet to be dated.
Release dates are also yet to be confirmed for Stephan Elliott’s comedy Flammable Children (Becker Film Group), John V Soto’s thriller The Gateway (Rialto) and Paul Currie's romantic thriller 2.22.
The year’s top title by a wide margin is Garth Davis’ Lion (Transmission) with $29.5 million. The biopic has scored an impressive $US2.25 million in eight days in China, elevating the worldwide total to $141.5 million.
Launched on Boxing Day, Kriv Stenders’ Red Dog: True Blue collected $5.8 million this year. Rachel Perkins’ Jasper Jones (Madman) brought in $2.7 million and Jeffrey Walker’s Dance Academy: The Movie (StudioCanal) made $2.1 million.
None of the other 39 features and docs tracked by the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (which includes holdovers from previous years) has cracked $1 million.
The line-up for 2017 looks highly promising 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 full Australian films BO scorecard as of June '17 here.