Driven by Jen Peedom’s Mountain and Jeffrey Walker’s Ali’s Wedding, Australian films are enjoying their best month since April, when Walker’s Dance Academy: The Movie grossed $2.1 million.
Through September 27, Oz films and feature docs collectively have raked in $48.1 million this year, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA).
Despite the lull in local releases until Madman launched Ali’s Wedding on August 31, making $963,000 thus far, the year-to-date total has eclipsed the dismal 2016 calendar year result of $24.1 million.
However the national BO through last weekend is tracking at about 6 per cent below 2016, despite the break-out success of Warner Bros/New Line’s It.
Distributed by Madman Entertainment, Mountain collected $175,000 in its first week at 30 screens, which brings the total to $1.658 million after 13 live performances by the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
So Peedom’s lyrical exploration of the seductive power of mountains is poised to beat Damon Gameau’s That Sugar Film and Sunny Abberton and Macario De Souza’s Bra Boys, which both made $1.7 million, to become the highest-grossing Oz feature doc of all time, excluding IMAX.
In one sense that’s an unfair comparison because Mountain had the advantage of those live performances at far higher ticket prices than for cinemas.
Rhiannon Bannenberg’s tween movie Rip Tide, Gregory Erdstein’s That’s Not Me and Sera Davies’ Namatjira Project contributed to the September grosses.
Kriv Stenders’ Right Here: The Go-Betweens, which charts the rise and fall of the Aussie band, opened on September 28.
PGS – Intuition is your Personal Guidance System, Bill Bennett’s feature documentary which follows his international quest to find the origins of a voice which saved his life, will be available in cinemas via Fan-Force from October 11.
Potential Films is launching David Pulbrook’s thriller Bad Blood, which stars Xavier Samuel, Morgan Griffin and Tess Fowler, on October 12, following the October 8 world premiere at Adelaide Film Festival.
The same day Transmission Films is releasing Karina Holden’s marine doco Blue. Transmission has dated Ben Elton’s romantic comedy Three Summers for November 2, preceded by Q&A screenings attended by Elton, Michael Caton and other talent, at more than 20 locations across five states.
Also in November Umbrella Entertainment will launch Greg McLean’s thriller Jungle, which garnered mixed reviews when it opened the Melbourne International Film Festival,
On paper the line-up for 2018 looks impressive and potentially very commercial, given the creative talent involved in 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), the Spierig brothers’ Winchester and Shawn Seet’s Storm Boy (both StudioCanal) and Stephan Elliott’s Swinging Safari (Becker Film Group).
View the scorecard here.