Australian films are experiencing a resurgence in cinemas this year, raking in $21.7 million through April 20.
That’s way up on the $13.7 million collected in the first four months last year, when The Railway Man, Wolf Creek 2 and Tracks were the only significant contributors.
Given the upcoming release line-up including George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, Jeremy Sims' Last Cab to Darwin, Brendan Cowell's Ruben Guthrie, Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker, Simon Stone’s The Daughter and Michael Petroni’s Backtrack, the industry is on course to far surpass the 2014 total of $26.1 million from 39 films and feature documentaries plus holdovers.
Almost certainly 2015 will be a far bigger year for Oz cinema than 2013’s $38.5 million, and probably 2012’s $47.8 million. In the past 10 years the record is 2009’s $54.7 million.
This year local films are benefitting from an exceptionally buoyant trading period at the nation’s cinemas. Through the end of March the box-office total was $288.4 million, up 11% on the same period last year, according to the MPDAA.
Launched on Boxing Day, Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner is the stand-out, earning $10.1 million this year and $15.8 million all told.
Few pundits predicted Rob Connolly’s Paper Planes to cut through so strongly, fetching $9.6 million.
With $1.2 million in the till so far, Damon Gameau’s That Sugar Film is reaping the rewards of a clever marketing campaign led by the director and having a hot-button topic.
The one major misfire is Anthony Mir’s Manny Lewis, which strangely miscasts stand-up comic and co-writer Carl Barron as a morose, lonely character. Barron’s unwillingness to promote his film didn’t help.
View the Australian films scorecard here.