'Lion' leads this year's Aussie films, and now ranks as the fifth highest grossing Australian film of all time.
The Australian films released theatrically so far this year have grossed $42.6 million – nearly double the meagre 2016 calendar year total of $24.1 million.
The resurgence for Australian cinema has been led by Garth Davis’ Lion (Transmission), the stand-out with $29.5 million.
Launched on Boxing Day 2016, Kriv Stenders’ Red Dog :True Blue has earned $5.8 million this year, not a terrible result for Roadshow Films but below industry expectations.
Rachel Perkins’ Jasper Jones (Madman) brought in $2.66 million and Jeffrey Walker’s Dance Academy: The Movie (StudioCanal) made $2.1 million.
None of the other 37 films tracked by the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (which includes holdovers from previous years) has cracked $1 million.
However the market share for Aussie films this year will be a marked improvement on 2016’s 1.9 per cent, which was a sharp drop on the prior year’s 7.2 per cent and well below the 10 year average of 4.1 per cent.
In 2015 local features grossed $88.1 million, with a record-breaking four titles each earning over $10 million – Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dressmaker, Oddball and The Water Diviner (released in 2014).
Screen Australia contends national films should be evaluated on three-year rolling averages, which smooths out the peaks and troughs of any single year.
This year’s misfires include Mark Lamprell's A Few Less Men (StudioCanal), Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome (eOne) and limited releases such as Cris Jones’ The Death and Life of Otto Bloom (Bonsai Films) and Fin Edquist’s Bad Girl (Curious Films).
The prospects for the second half of the year will hinge primarily on which films are completed and ready for release. There are no release dates yet for Anthony Maras’ thriller Hotel Mumbai, Ben Howling and Yolande Ramke’s Cargo, Simon Baker’s Breath, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, Greg McLean’s Jungle, Ben Elton’s Three Summers and Stephan Elliott’s Flammable Children.
Madman is releasing Jen Peedom’s documentary Mountain and Jeffrey Walker’s comedy Ali’s Wedding. Transmission will distribute Karina Holden’s marine doco Blue while Raw and Cooked Media will handle Pete Gleeson’s Outback documentary Hotel Coolgardie.
View the full Australian films BO scorecard as of May '17 here.