By Simon de Bruyn


Elissa Down’s family drama The Black Balloon has passed $1 million at the Australian box office, after boosting its screen count from 61 to 68 last weekend. Meanwhile high school dramedy, Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger, has reached the $600,000 mark after two weeks in cinemas.

Boosted by strong reviews, The Black Balloon is performing slightly better than Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger, recording an average of $2,318 per screen last weekend, compared with Blueburger’s $1,123 from 134 screens over the same Thursday to Sunday period.

Both local films are partly trading off their casting of Toni Collette in supporting roles, and both advertise themselves as stories about fitting in – although they are worlds apart in subject matter.

According to figures from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia, Balloon’s gross so far is $1,184,325. In 2007, Razzle Dazzle rounded off the top 5 highest grossing local films with $1.6m.

The films are in cinemas now. The next anticipated local release is Black Water on April 24.

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